London. On Ageing: to Oct 9, 2010
Posted by: Carole Woddis on Sept 30, 2010 – 19.25pm
Young Vic (The Maria) 66 The Cut SE1 8LZ To 9 October 2010.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Sold out
Runs 1hr 10min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7922 2922.
Review: Carole Woddis 29 September.
Eat your heart out ALW!
There is an old theatre adage that actors should never work with children and animals. If ever there was a show to confirm that, it’s the admired Fevered Sleep group’s latest project On Ageing.
Directors David Harradine and Sam Butler have immersed themselves in an 18 month project looking at how we age and enveigled a stunningly assured group of youngsters ranging from 7-13 year olds to speak the words of adults they’ve recorded as well as explaining themselves what getting older means.
All shapes and sizes, after 70 minutes each one of them emerges a star in their own right – eat your heart out Andrew Lloyd Webber – with bags of personality, pacing, humour, and the occasional moment of spontaneity that can pierce any vestiges of armadillo-like adult protective coating.
Maybe you could call this contrivance; it is so well-directed and managed that sometimes you long for the seven to break out.
But the result is nonetheless startlingly beautiful, wise and funny, if theatrically slightly repetitive as the stage is filled with the bric-a-brac of living: prams, nests of tables, a rocking-horse, a dart-board, various generations of televisions, etc etc. Together they amount to a lifetime, an accumulation of objects within which are contained associated memories.
Like Neil MacGregor’s British Museum/BBC History of the World in 100 Objects, dominating Radio 4 airwaves for the past several months, here are artefacts that speak for the ageing process even whilst life is being lived. There was a wonderful quote from John Lennon once that summed this all up. "Life is what happens to you whilst you’re busy making other plans".
Harradine and Butler’s On Ageing is precisely that. So we learn, through the onstage performers, of 70 year olds feeling like teenagers, of four and five year olds imagining their futures and of prodigious feats of memory as Madeleine – an impish, accomplished 10 year old – lists the items that have already been brought on stage. One way you know you’re getting older is how hard it would be emulate her, even granted pre-rehearsal. Seductively entrancing.
Performers: Georgie Barnes, Joe Chanyacharungchit, Laroque Robinson, Madeleine Jones, Theo Peters, Tsipora St Clair Knights, Vaugn Clark-Phillips.
Choir: Alec Goy,Alison Liney,Anne Greenslade,Duncan Watney,Geoff Simmons,Isobel Kirby,Kate Fearnley,Peter Jackson,Sheila Maclean.
Directors/Designers: David Harradine, Sam Butler.
Designer: Ali Beale.
Lighting: Hansjorg Schmidt.
Composer: Ged Barry.
Choir director: Osnat Schmool.
Film: Mark Webber.
Vocal coach: Corin Mellinger.
Dramaturg: Synne Behrndt.