THE LONG ROAD SOUTH
by Paul Minx.
King’s Head Theatre 115 Upper Street Islington N1 1QN To 30 January 2016.
Tue-Sat 7pm. Mat Sat, Sun and 28 Jan 3pm.
Runs 1hr 30min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7226 8561.
Review: William Russell 16 January.
Fine performances in an overwrought drama.
A hot summer’s day in Indiana. Daughter of the house, Ivy, a nymphette who would give Lolita a run for her money, teases the hired help, a handsome coloured man call Andre with a violent past who is a born again Christian.
Ivy is studying for a Bible contest. He is trying to pluck up courage to tell his employer that he and his girl friend, Grace, the family maid, wish to leave for Alabama. A distinctly strong minded New Yorker she wants to join the Civil Right movement. Andre wants to be reunited with a long lost daughter.
Mother Carol Ann is a lush, her son in a home for the mentally sick, and her husband Jakes besotted with his daughter and reluctant to pay the hired help back wages they need if they are to head for freedom – or possibly out of the frying pan into the fire.
The play at times beggars belief. Andre is too gullible to be credible. Grace, an aspiring writer who keeps penning thoughts in a notebook, is so rude to her admittedly peculiar employers it’s a mystery she has not long since been sacked.
The cast could hardly be bettered, Michael Brandon a splendid head of the house nowhere near as tough as he seems, and Imogen Stubbs gorgeous lush, ever so slightly over the hill but still a fine figure of a woman and not quite as sozzled as at first she seems.
Lydea Perkins, bursting out of her sun-suit all over the place, may be a shade old for Ivy, but is undeniably jail-bait. That it is difficult to believe in Grace is no fault of Krissi Bohn, who creates a fine prickly woman with aspirations, while Cornelius Macarthy is an impressive worm, for good reasons in his past, who finally turns.
It is overwrought. But if the material takes some believing, the actors carry things very well, director Sarah Berger keeps the action moving and there is a rather good set by Adrian Linford in a reformed seat pattern for the King’s Head, with the audience on three sides.
Grace Banks: Krissi Bohn.
Jake Price: Michael Brandon.
Andre White: Cornelius Macarthy.
Ivy Price: Lydea Perkins.
Carol Ann Price: Imogen Stubbs.
Director: Sarah Berger.
Designer/Costume: Adrian Linford.
Lighting: Kevin James.
Fight director: Lyndall Grant,
Assistant director: Dave Spencer.