a song drama by Erik Gedeon in a version by Adrian Laurance literal translation by Ian Black.
Nottingham Playhouse to 27 February 2010.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm no performance 22 Feb Mat 20 Feb 2.30pm, 25 Feb 1.30pm.
Audio-described 20 Feb 2.30pm & and 24 Feb.
BSL Signed 19 Feb.
Post-show talk 23 Feb.
Runs 2hr 10min One interval.
TICKETS: 0115 9419419.
Review: Jen Mitchell 12 February.
Let’s hear it for the aged..
An almost bizarre concept sees a strong cast in their twilight years as residents of the Nottingham Playhouse Rest Home for Resting Actors. There’s no plot, just an evening in the residents’ company, as Sister Sara leads them through her entertainment programme, in which she is keen to remind her clients they are ever-nearing the grave. These actor-characters treat us to a medley of modern classics delivered with incredible style and gusto.
In this UK premier of Erik Gedeon’s European hit, the playhouse celebrates its long-established tradition of pantomime. Rebecca Little, familiar to playhouse audiences, is a foul-mouthed theatrical lady with an acerbic wit and happy memories of protests and sex. John Elkington, better known for his dames, dons a long grey wig and an unassuming manner. Until he goes to battle with Mr Pennycooke, in a slow-motion slapstick routine, pitting their wits and strength against each other, leading to an untimely, tragic death.
The delicate humour and humanity displayed by the characters throughout, even as they fire the shotgun at Sister Sara, ensures the audience remain aware of the piece’s bitter-sweet nature. The fear of us all on the downhill slope of growing old in a quiet and dignified manner is brought home in this poignant production. It is heartening to see the cast not going gently into that good night but continuing to rave at the dying of the light.
As the lights dim at the close and the characters struggle off to bed, nobody wins. Sara has taken part in the charade – does she every evening? Mr Jardine attempts to lead his wife off as she takes curtain calls to an imagined audience, Mr Elkington once again wipes his mouth (a small yet vital gesture that brings his character to real old age), and shuffles off stage. Mr Pennycooke and Ms Little stagger away, while Mr Bednarczyk accommodates all musical requests, playing everyone off to bed.
Giles Croft directs an utterly enjoyable evening’s entertainment, a velvet-covered warning of what is to come – a reminder to think about what lies beneath the wrinkles and walking-sticks.
Sister Sara: Sara Poyzer.
Mr Bednarczyk: Stefan Bednarczyk.
Ms Little: Rebecca Little.
Mr Pennycooke: Jason Pennycooke.
Mr Elkington: John Elkington.
Mr Jardine: Mark Jardine.
Ms Storey: Claire Storey.
Director: Giles Croft.
Designer: Claire Thompson.
Lighting: Nick Morris.
Sound: Brew Baumohl.
Musical Director: Stefan Bednarczyk.
Choreographer: Adele Parry.
Dramaturg: Gareth Morgan.