In the musical 42nd Street, director Julian Marsh famously declares: “musical comedy: the most glorious words in the English language”. I often agree - but there are also four more that are also guaranteed to put a spring in your step when you go to the theatre: “90 minutes - no interval”.
On Monday night, the Bush opened a new play Tinderbox that was prefaced by the PR issuing the dreaded words, “two-and-a-half hours”, but at least he added, “we’re doing drinks in the interval”. It’s a long time to spend in a theatre if the play doesn’t deliver, and as Michael Billington wrote in his Guardian review yesterday, “While it is refreshing to find a young writer delivering a two-act play rather than opting for the comfort zone of 90 minutes, I can’t help feeling that she stretches her basic joke a bit too far.”
So it was a pleasure to go to the Royal Court last night and indeed be told that the opening of Martin Crimp’s The City would run for just 90 minutes without an interval.