by Kevin Elyot
2 Stars **
Park 200, the park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, London N4 3JP to 12 August 2017.
Tues-Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 3pm. 31 July and 7 August 7.30pm.
Runs 75 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7870 6876
Review: William Russell 19 July.
A sad and dreary song at twilight
On the face of it Kevin Elyot’s last play Twilight Song, given its premier at the ever enterprising and admirable Park Theatre, should have been a delight to discover, but sadly it is anything but. Muddled and tedious – there are admittedly some good lines – it makes dispiriting watching of the kind that sends the audience out into the night asking what the hell that was all about. Elyot, who won numerous awards for his work, the best know of which is the marvellous My Night With Reg, died in 2014. One feels he might have worked more on this one had he lived.
It opens promisingly in the present day as middle aged redundant pharmacist Barry, a cardigan man, is showing a louche rather good looking estate agent in a slightly too tight suit round the house he occupied with his mother Isabella. She is out seeing a spiritualist. The pair of them indulge in a nicely edgy verbal duel which ends pretty much as one expects – the estate agent services Barry.
But then it is downhill all the way as we get time shifts back to when mother was young, making a not very suitable marriage, having lusty thoughts about a handsome handyman who bears a strong resemblance to the estate agent. Add two elderly gay gents whose relationship is past its best and one of whom knows the handyman far too well and that is about it. Lots of classical music gets played on the gramophone, sometimes very loudly, presumably to wake the audience up, and it all ends sadly with Isabella as a young woman looking out at the garden not realising quite what is to come but knowing in her heart it is not going to be happy.
The playing is fine – Paul Higgins manages the transition from buttoned up Barry to his rather dishy self satisfied father Basil, Adam Garcia oozes sex appeal as the estate agent and the handyman who pleasures all who come his way, and everyone else does what is required of them perfectly well. But one doesn’t care a hoot about any of them and while handsomely enough done, directed and played it remains a play which should have been left unperformed.
Harry: Philip Bretherton.
Skinner/Gardener: Adam Garcia.
Isabella: Bryony Hannah.
Barry/Basil: Paul Higgins.
Charles: Hugh Ross.
Director: Anthony Banks.
Designer: James Catterill.
Lighting Designer: Tim Lutkin.
Composer & Sound Designers: Ben & Max Ringham.
Dialect Coach: Elspeth Morrison.
Dramaturg: Sebastian Born.