Where: West End
4 April 2007 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Forget William Wordsworth’s “London 1802” and Louis MacNeice’s wistful “London Rain”. James Brough and Helen Elizabeth’s is a charming stage elegy for the young and restless in Liverpool. The Pool - City of Culture?
This 2006 Edinburgh Fringe transfer written and performed by Brough and Elizabeth sees displaced Londoner, David (Brough), penniless and stranded in Liverpool following a failed flirtation. He is quick to catch the eye of feisty dog-track bookie Tina (Elizabeth) who obliges him first with astute betting tips and then a full day of city sightseeing. Inevitably the pair bond over the impressive view from Liverpool’s lofty cathedral and later while admiring Antony Gormley’s “Field for the British Isles” at the Tate. But it takes beer and dance-floor embarrassment to suppurate tales of first flings and broken homes.
As their playful conversations drift from disabled siblings to abortion regrets, it soon becomes clear the pair have more in common than a tendency to address the audience via lyrical asides and rhyming couplets – an exercise parallelling the poetry of language with poetic fate.
Despite her diminutive appearance beside bulky Brough, Elizabeth provides a far more nuanced and authoritative performance. While Brough punctuates statements with nervous half-laughs and physical jerks, Elizabeth rounds Tina’s outward confidence with thinly veiled melancholy. She is the mystery to Brough’s cliché, withholding just enough to intrigue an audience and draw David. To his credit, Brough’s “restless wandering fearless lad” has enough clumsy appeal to validate Tina’s enthralment.
With a set limited to the odd chair and table,
relies exclusively on its two leads and written verse, which is tidy and pleasing to the ear. Tina’s defensive wit is especially entertaining. While limited in its emotional engagement, this piece is without doubt a spirited account of two ordinary people coming together and, for one “lucky day”, sparkling. The Pool
- Malcolm Rock
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
: The economic impact of Arts & Culture in the UK Infographic When Culture Secretary Maria Miller called for the arts to make their "economic case" for subsidy, t... Plays Cast: Harry Potter star in Southwark Moment, more for Branagh's Macbeth Bonnie Wright, best known for playing Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films, will make her stage d... Brief Encounter with ... The Kite Runner's Ben Turner Ben Turner stars in the stage version of the bestselling book The Kite Runner, which runs at Liverpo... Titus Andronicus (RSC) This latest production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, to borrow from football punditry, is a p... : Britain's outdoor theatres Take Five With half-term approaching, the weather (hopefully) set to improve for the bank holiday weekend and ... West End Live returns to Trafalgar Square next month West End Live, a weekend of free entertainment from top London shows, will return to Trafalgar Squar... : 'I carry the ghost of Gregory Peck on my shoulders' Robert Sean Leonard Actor Robert Sean Leonard is currently playing Atticus Finch in Timothy Sheader's production of To K... To Kill A Mockingbird Twenty years ago, a young Robert Sean Leonard appeared on the London stage with Alan Alda in... X Factor musical titled I Can't Sing!, opens Palladium March 2014 The forthcoming X Factor musical will be called I Can't Sing! The Musical and will premiere at the L... Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p...