Onions Cry Too by Jayne Marshall is a comic and surreal study of love, life and old age.
It begins with the larger than life Charles (Arthur Bostrom) bounding into what appears to be a room in a care home having been summoned there by the wheelchair bound Donald (Bob Young). They are soon joined by Alfred (Eryl Lloyd Parry) and Bertie(David Milne), two elderly friends confined to the home with its faded flowered wallpaper and haunted by memories of their past.
The audience is suddenly tipped into a very strange world indeed, which throws up more questions than answers. Why are all the doors and windows locked? Where are all the staff? And from where does the tea trolley keep appearing? Above all there is something very strange about Charles and Donald who seem locked in some sort of a competition over the two other men.
The feeling of going slightly mad is accentuated by some marvellous and absurd moments, such as the eternal ‘jaffa cake is it a cake or a biscuit’ debate which becomes so serious that they improvise a court to decide it.
With so much going on and just a little confusion over the mysterious actions of the tricky Charles and the semi conscious Donald, Onions Cry Too comes close to being just a little too random and losing the audience entirely. However, this is avoided by the genuine emotions portrayed by the god-fearing Alfred and the cautious Bertie as they confront their pasts.
Although some questions still hang in the air at the end of Onion Cry Too, with a superb cast and a creative script, it’s a mystery worth exploring.