Theatre review: God of Carnage

God of Carnage at the Tron
God of Carnage at the Tron
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Ever since the global success of her most famous play Art, 20 years ago, the French writer Yasmina Reza has been recognised as a hugely skilled and dramatic destroyer of the ­pretensions of well-to-do liberal Europe, after more than half a century of peace.

God Of Carnage ****

Tron Theatre, Glasgow

In Art, a row over an abstract painting threatens to destroy the life-long friendship of three men; and in God Of Carnage, premiered in 2006, two well-off suburban couples descend rapidly into drunken, foul-mouthed chaos after they meet to discuss an incident in which the son of Alain and Annette (Richard Conlon and Lorraine McIntosh, in tremendous form) hits the son of Michel and Veronique (Colin McCredie and Anita Vettesse, both also excellent), damaging two of his teeth.

Like Art, God Of Carnage is a beautifully-structured play; and Gareth Nicholls’s Scottish premiere at the Tron – played out on a witty and exquisite drawing room set by Karen Tennant – delivers a hilarious, beautifully-pitched 80 minutes of theatre, full of sharp observation and hard-hitting comedy.

The aim of the drama is to knock out the foundations of the couples’ claims to civilisation, as Alain is revealed as a cut-throat corporate lawyer without ethics or conscience, Michel is exposed as a cowardly killer of the family hamster, and Annette projectile ­vomits all over Veronique’s pristine white furniture.

And although we’re probably, a decade on, now past the stage in European history when we need reminding how shallow our veneer of peaceful civilisation is, there’s no denying the dynamism, wit and energy of Reza’s play, delivered here by a superb cast, who never miss a beat.

Until 25 March