1953. In the midst of the Cold War and with McCarthyisim at its height the world watched as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sent to the electric chair for allegedly passing US atomic secrets to the Soviet Union – protesting their innocence to the last. Inspired by this haunting true story, James Phillips‘ multi-award winning play The Rubenstein Kiss (TMA and John Whiting awards for Best New Play) comes to Southwark Playhouse in its first London revival.
The Rubenstein Kiss is the story of the Rubensteins, a deeply devoted Jewish couple whose Communist idealism leads to their world being torn apart by suspicion and treachery which then echoes through the generations. Phillips’ explosive and affecting drama is the study of conspiracy, betrayal and the interrogation of guilt.
At a time when its political relevance is felt strongly in today’s polarised political climate, Joe Harmston (The Lover, The Collection, Donmar Warehouse) directs an important revival of this poignant and stunning drama.
Suitable for ages 12+
McCarthy-era drama is elegant but at times laborious
A well written and excellently performed play
Ruby Bentall is a wonderful Esther Rubenstein, giving her a combination of homeliness and strength
This drama inspired by Julius and Ethel Rosenberg is ripe for revival but the story asks more questions than it answers
The Rubenstein Kiss is good, maybe even very good, and it certainly provides an enjoyable evening. But, ultimately, the complexity of thought within it makes it forgettable
At two hours and forty five minutes it's a long production and it suffers slight dips in pacing, but has some relevant commentary on fraught political climates
Emotionally-charged revival of James Phillips’ play based on the lives of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
The Rubenstein Kiss feels weighty but becomes an electric epic anyway