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Love-Lies-Bleeding review – Don DeLillo play is a matter of life and death 

Print Room at the Coronet, London
The novelist’s 2005 drama opens up arguments about assisted death and the point at which life ceases to have meaning

Many of the great American novelists – Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, Saul Bellow – have at some point written plays. Don DeLillo is more committed than most and this piece, written in 2005, reveals a genuine sense of theatre. Elegantly staged by Jack McNamara, who has constantly championed DeLillo’s dramas, its main problem is that its protagonist seems more compelling as he approaches death than in what we see of his earlier life.

Immobilised by a stroke, Alex is an artist who exists in a permanent vegetative state lovingly tended by his young fourth wife, Lia. But wife number two, Toinette, turns up announcing “we’re here to help him die”, and she is aided by Alex’s son, Sean, who has come prepared with a programme of morphine therapy. This opens up a fascinating argument about assisted death and the point at which life ceases to have meaning. But the moral debate is short-circuited by an extended flashback in which Alex is visited by Toinette in his isolated home: it is hard to see what this proves other than that Alex was always an obsessive in his desire to create art out of the rocky landscape.

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My favourite Pinter by Tamsin Greig, Robert Glenister and Janie Dee 

Stars of the West End’s Pinter at the Pinter season pick plays by the dramatist that changed the way they thought about theatre

As a teenager I used to quote lines from The Homecoming as if they were my own, like “I’ll chop your spine off!” I studied the play at school and a group of actors including Christopher Benjamin and Roger Lloyd-Pack came in to do a rehearsed reading of it. I was probably about 16. It was brilliant. I’ve never seen a full production but The Homecoming has stuck with me through the years

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