by Zoe Mills.
Park 90, Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, London N4 3JP to 4 March 2017.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Thur & Sat 3.15pm.
Runs 1hr 50 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7870 6876.
Review: William Russell 8 February.
A tale about music, death and being bloody minded
For some reason this fascinating first play by Zoe Mills is described on the publicity flyer as an hilarious and irreverent comedy which explores inspiration, music, life and the right to die. It does all the latter but a comedy it most decidedly is not.
There are laughs to be sure, but they come from the gutsy responses to her plight by Hester, an elderly retired celebrated cellist who has cancer which is shortly going to kill her. Trapped in her flat, living on pills and Rioja, contact with the outside world being by means of Skype or her phone, and seeing only when she feels like it a young, somewhat odd social worker, she is a tough old bird determined to do things her way.
Brigit Forsyth, who can and does play the cello, is a splendid Hester, demanding, passing the time looking back on a past that was colourful and gloriously enraged when a premature obituary focuses only on a scandalous affair she had with a famous conductor. There was surely more to her life than that. On the other hand he had been very good in bed.
She chats on Skype with an old colleague called George – the conversations are projected on the wall of the set – and squabbles with Sara, the intrusive social worker, played by her daughter Zoe Mills. There is something not quite right about Sara. No plot spoilers but ponder that title. It has a couple of meanings.
The play is about raging against the dying of the light, about the power of music, the need for friendship – George does the unthinkable and dies – and just being plain bloody minded. Very well acted by and it has been cleverly staged on a circular platform which revolves as Hester gradually discards the trappings of the past and faces up to her future. Maybe those glasses of Rioja tend not to get emptied – at one point Sara has to add to an already half full glass clearly meant for someone else – but that is by the way.
Director Antony Eden has done a good job and the play is thought-provoking, life affirming, and ultimately moving. But a comedy it is not.
Hester: Brigit Forsyth.
Sara: Zoe Mills.
George Robin Herford.
Director: Antony Eden.
Designer: Paul Colwell.
Cinematography & Video Design: Kostis Mousikos.
Sound Design: Harry Johnson.