I now realise that the BBC television journalist James Mossman, the subject of Nicholas Wright's new play at the Cottesloe, committed suicide in the same year I became a journalist, 1971. I vaguely remember the name and the face, but far less vividly than Robin Day and Robert Kee. First, the good things about this new National Theatre production. It is superbly directed by Sir Richard Eyre, who is a master of small details, especially in the small arena of the Cottesloe, which he always preferred to the wide open spaces of the Olivier stage during his ten years running the National in the 1990s. The performances are exceptional, particularly Ben Chaplin in the role of the tortured Mossman. There are some wonderful cameos, including Angela Thorne as Rosamund Lehmann, Leo Bill as a young BBC producer, and Paul Ritter as Robin Day. Chris New follows his West End debut in the revival of Bent by playing Mossman's unstable Canadian boyfriend Louis. The period setting of the BBC in the 1960s is cleverly brought to life using a set that uses back-projection. However, I have some reservations about the play. I voted happily for Wright's Vincent in Brixton to win the Olivier award for best new play of 2002, and this one shows many of the same qualities. The dialogue is sharp and subtle, the individual scenes are poignant and full of meaning, but the mystery of why Mossmann committed suicide remains almost as open at the end of the play as at the beginning. A lesser playwright would have twisted the story into a preordained format and supplied an easy answer. Mossman's suicide note said: 'I can't bear it any longer. But I don't know what 'it' is.' The character spends much of the play narrating the story, stepping in and out of the action. But although the transitions are deftly handled, I always find the use of a narrator on stage a warning sign that the playwright is struggling to turn his material into drama. Mossman seems to have been a secretive man who revealed little of himself, and possibly didn't know why he was driven to suicide. Depression and bipolar disorder spring to mind, but somehow they are not the raw ingredients for real drama. The McGuffin seems to be missing in this play, for all its excellent qualities. I think the Cottesloe run is sold out, but this is still likely to be one of the best new plays of 2007.