20 January 2022, The Tablet

Slippery slope

Slippery slope

Force Majeure
Donmar Warehouse, London

A person emerging from decades in a coma or a trip to outer space might assume, strolling through central London, that billboards for Back to the Future, Moulin Rouge, Heathers and Sister Act signal cinemas. But as culture has become ever more genre-fluid, a high percentage of West End shows arise from movies.

Even so, Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure, which won the Swedish director a Jury Prize at Cannes in 2014, seems an unlikely transfer. Its key scenes are alpine exteriors during a family skiing holiday, the cinematography luxuriating in the blinding white and blue of snow and sky and the soundtrack featuring the slick swoosh of speeding skiers.

Presumably Donmar artistic director Michael Longhurst wanted to do it for the sheer theatrical challenge of recreating outdoor action in a small venue and because the material suits the burgeoning turn-of-year sub-genre of wintry shows for grown-ups as an alternative to Christmas fare for families. (Its scheduled December opening was cancelled due to Omicron positives among the cast, but it’s now been extended to 5 February.)

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