by Tristan Bernays
Southwark Playhouse, The Little, 77- 85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD to 7 April 2018.
Mon-Sat 8pm. Mat Tues & Sat 3.30pm.
Runs 70 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7407 0234.
Review: William Russell 15 March.
A matter of life and death
This heartbreaking and yet frequently very funny play is about how Tom met Viv, their marriage, their daughter Alice, and how in time he gets Alzheimer’s. Tristan Bernays has mixed up the years beautifully and the result is very moving. Tom’s end is incredibly sad but the play is about living rather than death. He is a quirky, slightly fey musician, she is a no nonsense Scot, although that is probably only because the actress playing her is Scottish and embodies those peculiarly Scottish qualities in her performance. She is basically the bread winner supporting him while he works with his band in Italy for a time, round Europe, and back in Britain. They flirt, they fight, he is difficult, she gets exasperated by his otherworldliness, he succumbs to the disease, she grapples with his behaviour. By keeping the past in the present Bernays creates an enthralling piece of story telling beautifully staged in the round with only a bench for furnishing. Music backs the story, particularly The Way You Look Tonight, because it seems when other things fail music still lingers in the memory and is something Tom and Vivo cling to. The performances by Mark Amends (Tom) and Frances Grey (Vivo) could not be bettered and director Sharon Burrell has set the couple’s lives on stage to perfection. It quite blew me away.
Tom: Mark Amends.
Vivo: Frances Grey.
Director: Sharon Burrell.
Lighting Designer: Peter Small.
Sound Designer/Composer: Christopher Ash.
Sound Designer: Patrick Ball.
Costume Designer: Anta Cassu.
Movement Director: Lucie Pankhurst.