By James Graham directed by Jeremy Herrin
Runtime: 165 mins
Starring: David Harewood, Zachary Quinto
This play based on a true story that takes place in the 1970s in Durham, North Carolina. The play follows the story of a civil rights activist named Ann Atwater (Lesley Manville) and a Ku Klux Klan leader named C.P. Ellis (Toby Jones) who become unlikely friends and allies.
The play begins with Atwater and Ellis on opposite sides of a community debate about school integration. They are chosen to co-chair a committee tasked with finding a solution to the issue. Initially, they are vehemently opposed to each other and their differing ideologies, but over time, they develop a respect and understanding for each other’s perspectives.
As the play progresses, their relationship deepens and they become close friends, bonding over their shared experiences of poverty and discrimination. However, their friendship is put to the test when a tragedy occurs that threatens to tear them apart.
“Best of Enemies” explores themes of race, class, and human connection. The play challenges the audience to confront their own biases and preconceptions and to see the humanity in people who hold different beliefs and values.
The performances by Manville and Jones are captivating, bringing depth and nuance to their characters. The play’s dialogue is sharp and insightful, with moments of humour and heartbreak.