A Splinter of Ice ★★★★★ Jermyn Street Theatre | October 14 - 30, 2021


Ben Brown's A Splinter of Ice is a fascinating and thought provoking play recounting a fictionalised version of a real meeting between Graham Greene and Kim Philby in Moscow in February 1987. It is framed by references to Greene's iconic The Third Man. Alan Strachan and Alastair Whatley's direction is beautifully nuanced and immaculately paced. However, it is the performances which take this play to another plane. Philby was one of the most notorious spies of the twentieth century, but we are asked to consider was he "the honest thief, the tender murderer”? Stephen Boxer is superb and imbues Philby with an easy charm masking a more ruthless side; his wife, Rufa is played tenderly by Karen Ascoe. Oliver Ford Davies wears the role of Graham Greene like the comfortable jumper he has beneath his jacket; every word, every gesture, every look is perfectly placed. This is acting of the highest possible quality by both men. Maybe the conversation occasionally smacks a little of a chat show, but overall it is an unforgettable experience. Plays occasionally assume a life of their own and take flight, and there are moments here when these actors inhabit their characters so well that they become entirely real. The play is encapsulated by the words, there is “a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer, but a whole icicle in the heart of a spy.” Here is a piece of intelligent theatre raising many intriguing questions and offering truly superb performances.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Steve Gregson.

Want to save on tickets? See our Tips page.

When, Where, Getting there:

Most Popular

Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons ★★★★ Harold Pinter Theatre | Jan 18 - Mar 18, 2023

Barbara Bleier and Austin Pendleton ★★★ The Pheasantry | January 13 &14, 2023

George Takei's Allegiance ★★★★ Charing Cross Theatre | Jan 7 - Apr 8, 2023

We'll Always Have Paris ★★★★ The Mill at Sonning | Jan 19 - Mar 11, 2023

Two Billion Beats ★★★★ Orange Tree Theatre | Jan 20 - Feb 4, 2023

Newsies ★★★★ Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre | Until April 16, 2023

In the Net ★★ Jermyn Street Theatre | Jan 12 - Feb 4, 2023

On The Ropes ★★★★ Park Theatre | Jan 7 - Feb 4, 2023

The Ghosting of Rabbie Burns ★★ King's Head Theatre | January 3 - 14, 2023

Love Goddess, The Rita Hayworth Musical ★★★ The Cockpit | Nov 18 - Dec 23, 2022

The City Life Magazine | Reviews & Ratings