The lucid three-hour retelling is a sort of docu-fiction, in which the events, public statements, and segues are all authentic while the behind-closed-doors dialogue is either punched up from known sources or invented. In Hare's version of history, our leaders, who, like the rest of the nation, lost the illusion of invulnerability on September 11, 2001, are compelled to construct for the American people an unambivalent triumphalist fable of revenge.But on what count, we wonder, does Lahr condescend?
Hare functions best as a dramatist when he assumes the role of reporter and allows his intellectual curiosity to override his literary immodesty.CR sees no call for literary immodesty in Hare's work; that would be like asking Faulkner to please shorten his goddamn sentences. Among our most astute historians, Hare acts as well. Whereas Lahr insists that
From a theatrical point of view, the real Bush is a bad actornot only do we wonder if Hare might not be a more reliable judge, but would add that this by no means is the first time that, with all due respect, we've marveled at US critics' failure to appreciate Hare's genius.
On the other hand, we sure cottoned to the Guardian's review. They laud Hare's reconsideration of character:
Bush, in many British eyes, is seen as some kind of holy fool or worse. But, through Hare's writing and Alex Jennings's performance, he emerges as a wily and skilful manipulator who plays the role of a bumbling pseudo-Texan but constantly achieves his desired ends. Jennings, with his wire-drawn upper lip and tentative gestures, has caught the Bush mannerisms exactly: more significantly, he suggests Bush is the most adroit politician on stage.CQ more than once fought for the idea that clearly Bush is anything but dumb. We do not for an instant imagine that the depths and range of the presidents's perfidy have been plumbed, and we have rather been astonished by the regularity with which our friends - lib dems the lot - seem quite happy to condescend to Bush's intelligence if not lament its absence. Consitently underestimating this enemy has not thus far behooved the left, or civilization at large for that matter. We can't help but feel though that the most salient point, and one of which both Davey and Goliath seem well aware: 50% of the US identifies as fundamentalist or Born Again.