JONAH AND OTTO
by Robert Holman.
Park Theatre (Park 200) Clifton Terrace Finsbury Park N4 3JP to 23 November 2014.
Tue–Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat & Sun 3.30pm.
Runs 2hr 10 min. One interval.
TICKETS: 0207 870 5399.
Review: William Russell 31 October.
A long day’s journey.
This is a two hander, a difficult form to get right – the problem always is that the characters are never what they seem and can get landed with speeches which they would never in reality deliver, beautifully written though they may be.
Robert Holman’s play is very well performed by Peter Egan as a bad tempered, lonely old man, who turns out to be a lascivious vicar, and Alex Waldmann as a young hoody who mugs him in a seaside park, wheeling a supermarket trolley containing a baby.
Of course he is nothing of the kind, although he does relieve the old man of quite a lot of cash and his clothes. Over a long day the odd couple bicker, exchange insults, confidences, and establish some sort of relationship before heading off into their respective futures. But would they have talked like they do, or is it all just the playwright dazzling us?
Holman has certainly come up with some splendid riffs for the two men to deliver as they reveal more and more about themselves, but one never really quite believes in the younger man, and if you are going to write a two act play you need a reason for people to return for the second half.
As a study of loneliness, frustration, what one has made of one’s life, what one can make of it, however, the piece certainly resonates. Peter Egan’s arrogant, supremely confident yet doubting Otto is conceived with great skill and he is matched by Alex Waldmann’s vulnerable, menacing, but not really dangerous lost boy Jonah.
Waldman gets some stunning physical stuff to do, not least managing to take Otto’s clothes off him when the old man falls asleep, as old men do.
Otto: Peter Egan.
Jonah: Alex Waldmann.
Director: Tim Stark.
Designer: Simon Bejer.
Lighting: Geraint Pughe.
Sound: Mark Dunne.