80 minutes seemed a little short for a fulfilling night out, but I wanted to see a play by Ella Hickson, so I went anyway. Distilling the hopes and expectations of most Westerners through three very different characters, Ella Hickson's play moved me. George has dementia, his mind and life are fading away, and Ian Gelder's performance is poignant and perfect: his fear of answering Trivial Pursuit questions he would once have aced, his stand-offishness as a guard against being caught out. But the play would be fruitless miserabilism if it wasn't for the two young people foregrounded, George's daughter, Joey, and George's carer, Sam. Sam is confidently and optimistically seeking his place in the world, whereas Joey pessimistically believes that her talents will get her precious little in today's shrinking economy. The interplay of these two, their different takes on the same events, their growing affection for each other, makes for a dynamic yet dexterously light examination of what is worthwhile for people living low expectations. Thoroughly decent people like Sam can be dull to watch, but Anthony Welsh is utterly charismatic and winning as Sam, bumbling, deluded, yet ultimately clear-eyed in his relentless positivity. Welsh generates so much warmth and charm that when he looked me in the eye from three feet away (this is an incredibly intimate theatre) I didn't feel at all uncomfortable. Olivia Hallinan (so memorable in the naughties in Channel 4's Sugar Rush as an overheated teenager with a crush on her best friend), appears here as Joey, confused, fragile, charming and sardonic as in Sugar Rush but now also projecting an air of futility and despair. The play, the performers and the space combine to create a memorable and resonant evening. - Steve
16 Apr 11
I thought this play was very well acted and sympathetically played by the whole cast. I liked being in a very small and intimate venue. I think this helps set the scene. - Ruth
Whatsonstage.com - Discount London theatre tickets, theatre news and reviews, Theatre videos, Theatre discussion, National Theatre Listings. Covering London's West End, all of Theatreland and all UK theatre. The best
for London Theatre Ticket Discounts.