Two narratives are manacled together in David Hare’s 50-minute monologue Beat the Devil. The first, and by far the more interesting, is his account of surviving a vicious and unpredictable bout of Covid-19. Not for the first time, though, the playwright wants to deliver a lecture too, which means that the personal memoir — laced with mordant humour and impeccably performed by Ralph Fiennes — is frequently shoved aside by a tub-thumping denunciation of the government.
Hare may well be right about the fecklessness of Boris Johnson and the Tories. And it may be true that Germany’s Angela Merkel and New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern are the heroes of the hour. Time will tell. But Hare’s views on the politics of the pandemic will