New Century. New Rules.
Page Eight is lovingly turned, with elegant writing, a flawless cast and a heartfelt message from writer/director David Hare about the danger zone where spies and politicians meet. The tension builds gently as we follow the fortunes of Johnny Worricker, a jazz-loving charmer who works high up at MI5 as an intelligence analyst. It’s a part made for Bill Nighy and he purrs out bon mots with a weary panache that women 20 years younger find irresistible. One such is his neighbour, Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz), in a Battersea mansion block. The question for Johnny is whether her interest in him is genuine or hides something darker. As his boss (Michael Gambon) puts it: “Distrust is a terrible habit.” Questions of trust, honour and friendship rumble through the play. The characters exchange oblique repartee as a plot about a damning dossier unwinds. It’s not to be missed.