Review: Daytona, Lyceum Theatre

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When a play has been a West End smash it’s hard to avoid plot leaks.

But Daytona is a theatrical experience made all the more intense by coming to it fresh, allowing everything to unravel like a ball of wool.

All the attention beforehand was on much-loved British actress Maureen Lipman and American Harry Shearer, famous for Spinal Tap and voicing numerous characters in The Simpsons.

But it is TV stalwart John Bowe who will live long in the memory for a tour de force performance as a figure from the past who arrives at Joe and Elli’s New York apartment.

Where Shearer’s character is neat and contained Bowe’s fills the stage with a mix of whisky-fuelled bonhomie, rage and bewilderment as he recounts the incredible events in Daytona, Florida that have brought him there.

The play has at its heart a message about morality and vengeance and how people choose to make a life in the face of overwhelming trauma.

The two Brits’ American accents are impeccable throughout, with a brilliant Lipman lapsing poignantly into Elli’s mother tongue as she delves painfully into her past .

But it’s not all angst, as there’s a lightness of touch in the relationship between the married couple and Shearer even lets a Simpsons voice sneak in at one stage.

Daytona is on until Saturday.