by Sonja Linden.
Inspired by La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler.
Southwark Playhouse, the Large, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD to 18 March 2017.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Tues & Sat 3pm.
Runs 90 mines No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7407 0234.
Review: William Russell 27 February
Splendid Third Age rumpy pumpy
From the wheel of fortune, the partner choosing gimmick in the last Schnitzler adaptation I saw, to the circus ring and another sexual merry go round inspired by La Ronde, although one out of the ordinary. Usually such adaptations have a cast of beautiful people who disrobe to general delight. This one is about senior citizens looking for, remembering, finding and losing love who do not disrobe, probably just as well.
It is performed by, to put it politely, a mature cast with a couple of outstanding exceptions in the hunky Elan James, who plays a kindly toy boy and an obliging rent one, and Anna Simpson who plays an annoyed daughter facing a surprise stepmother and does some dazzling aerial work in between times. The rest of the cast are bus pass holders – with possibly the exception of Clare Perkins who plays the raunchy whip cracking ring mistress of this circus of love.
The company, Visible, is dedicated to creating new and provocative work about older people and here hits its target perfectly. We meet a couple, long divorced, reigniting their passions, an elderly woman in bed with a young carer who eventually joins her after she tells him exactly what she misses in old age, a woman suffering from dementia, a man wondering whether he is gay with a rent boy who refuses to explain why he does what he does, insisting only “I am me”, the couple who do it on Sunday afternoons in between the crosswords and man finally coming to terms with having to marry his mistress.
The message is simple. Never give up, Stay in the game. Love is the most important thing, and if you cannot find anyone to love then love yourself. The performances are impeccable, with Holly de Jong outstanding as the woman with dementia. It is a most rewarding evening, the acrobatics on two sheets suspended from the flies are breathtaking and there is a subtle and enchanting musical accompaniment on cello, clarinet, flute or saxophone from Ru Hamilton dressed as Pierrot to keep things moving while the ring mistress cracks her whip and abuses the audience.
Ring mistress: Clare Perkins.
Adam: John Moraitis.
Bette: Holly de Jong.
Chris: Roger Alborough.
Daniel: Elan James.
Evelyn: Annie Firbank.
Frank: Vincenso Nicoli.
Gina: Doreen Blackstock.
Evie, Hattie, Aerialist: Anna Simpson.
Actor, musician: Ru Hamilton.
Director: Anna Ledwich
Associate Director: Celine Lowenthal.
Set & Costumes: Moi Tran.
Lighting Design: Matt Haskins.
Sound & Music composition: Max Pappenheim