[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Press views: A Few Good Men
Actor Rob Lowe has received glowing reviews from UK theatre critics for his West End debut in A Few Good Men.

Written by West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, the play was filmed by director Rob Reiner in 1992 with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson.

It tells of a Navy lawyer, played by Lowe, who is called upon to defend two marines accused of causing the death of a fellow soldier at the US military base at Guatanamo Bay, Cuba.


A Few Good Men socks you between the eyes. It's quick-fire, brutal, damning: Guantanamo with a big GI.

Rob Lowe in A Few Good Men
Lowe plays inexperienced Navy lawyer Daniel Kaffee
This is courtroom drama at its finest and it carries equally well on big screen or stage.

Rob Lowe is a terrific stage performer. His timing is canny; he cuts through dialogue like a sharp knife with a fine line in crumpled self-deprecation.

David Esbjornson directs the show magnificently. Believe me, you'll think you were there.


Sorkin's play preceded the movie and remains a thoroughly decent example of that endangered theatrical species, the courtroom drama.

Its story is somewhat formulaic, but when Rob Lowe is coolly cruising David Esbjornson's production proves gripping enough.

Lowe hasn't quite the Cruise charisma, but he almost makes you believe that a virtual tyro could shed his surface frivolity and become an ace examiner.

Maybe the production's main strength is less him than its picture of Marine life.


As the sarcastic US Navy lawyer in Sorkin's court-martial drama, Rob Lowe is handsome, quirky, feline but most of all completely believable.

Guantanamo has been much in the news and although this play was written before the Afghan PoW controversies it is keenly topical.

Sorkin writes testing lines about how lawyers prosper thanks to freedoms provided by brute military power.

After a downmarket summer the Theatre Royal Haymarket has a hit.


Rob Lowe proves he is as much at home on stage as on movie and TV screens.

Jack Ellis (r) in A Few Good Men
Jack Ellis (right) plays the role Jack Nicholson took in the film version
He has a lithe, square-jawed presence and shows the hero's incremental growth in moral stature as the action proceeds.

Above all he lends the character's neat one-liners the lightest of touches.

You come out having seen a well-plotted thriller that works on its own terms.


A Few Good Men is a dramatic, witty and thought-provoking piece of popular entertainment at its best.

Its story of what is acceptable and what is not in the military world seems even more resonant now in the wake of 9/11, the recent Iraq war and the harrowing pictures from Abu Ghraib.

Rob Lowe is excellent as the young-looking, baseball-fixated rookie lawyer originally played by Tom Cruise.

He memorably captures a witty, damaged character and movingly shows this apparent lightweight learning moral courage under pressure.


There could hardly be a less appropriate time for a London staging of Aaron Sorkin's devoutly patriotic American courtroom thriller.

Sorkin delivers a soothing message about America's ability to hang on to justice and control its armed forces.

Yet in real life it is less than a year since American soldiers were discovered torturing prisoners being held without trial in Guantanamo.

Lowe, all cool, neat and slight, does not quite have the kind of charismatic stage personality that compels you to keep an eye on the self-confident, thrusting lawyer.

Actor Lowe shows West End support
27 Jul 05 |  Entertainment
Press views: Guys And Dolls
02 Jun 05 |  Entertainment
West Wing loses creator
02 May 03 |  Entertainment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific