1 Feb

by Chris Lee
This is my second experience of this strange play. It still has an incredibly emotional impact, I think even more so than when I saw it last year at the Tabard.
I get the impression it has been speeded up a little which does not interfere with the incredible potency of the piece – and in fact has a strengthening effect as does the fact that it is played in a very intimate almost claustrophobic atmosphere of the tiny Museum of Comedy Theatre.
The design, by Ken McClymont has a set with everything plastered with newspapers -a table and chairs covered in newsprint. Even the beer bottles they drink from have this symbol of the passage of time..
The action takes place in a single location and it involves the entire emotional relationship of a two people throughout their lives, from their falling in love, their marriage the way they hate and love each other , when they drift apart, and nevertheless, wherever they are alive or dead, they have an inescapable bond.
They meet at their old age and the whole play is devoted to their remembrances and acting out of their past love, their parenthood, the loss of faith. The play slips backwards and forwards in time. Their old age, still loving and fighting and their excitable youth deciding on the paint colour for the house are running almost concurrently. He loves the house, longs for a boat, she finds it ridiculous. Their acting is sublime, without the help of costumes except for a shawl worn by Pradelsca when she is the old person.
The scenes are acting out quite wonderfullyby Alan Turkington West End, film and TV actor and Laura Pradelsca best known for her Quaithe in Game of Thrones.
When it was shown at the Tabard, it was described as having shades of ‘Who’sAfraid of Virginia Woolf’ but it is much more enigmatic and poignant.
Set in a single location and with just the two protagonists, in many short scenes each desplaying an important moment in their lives, we are forced to concentrate on their ever changing emotions. We really get to know these people and care about them as they reveal their own affectionate and their own violent feelings. They have to cope with abandonment, betrayal, death and facts of life, pleasant and unpleasand.
The play is directed with enormous passion and empathy by Ken McClymont who as a painter, creates some beautiful scenes in this tiny environment with the help of some delicious lighting by Luke M Francis…

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