Old Red Lion
Where: Inner London
1 September 2011 WOS Rating: Average Reader Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Sadie Shimmin and Pat Starr portray the troubled protagonists in this darkly humorous, hard-hitting production of Marsha Norman's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, 'night, Mother, at Islington’s intimate Old Red Lion.
This two-character play tells the story of Jessie Cates, who is anxious to put everything in order before she kills herself, and her mother Thelma, who wants desperately to prevent her daughter's violent demise. There is nothing like an impending suicide to prompt an arousing heart-to-heart, and as Jessie busies herself in an attempt to ensure her elderly mother’s needs will be met in her absence, all the possible reasons behind her shocking decision are exposed. What begins as a startlingly matter-of-fact exchange concerning Jessie’s plan rapidly evolves into a stirring debate exploring delicate family issues.
Sadie Shimmin’s Jessie exudes an unabashed, quiet determination which is beautifully countered by Pat Starr’s mounting panic as she flounders about Katharine Heath’s imaginative set. Paul Stacey’s insightful direction ensures the intensity never rises above an uncomfortable level and despite occasionally apparent second-night nerves, the actors achieve a potent chemistry, the effortless ease of their close relationship poignantly tainted by the daughter’s failing mental health and tragic insistence on self-destruction.
This production deals sensitively with difficult issues and can only gather momentum and intensify its already powerful effect as the run progresses.
- Helen Macdonald
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
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... Tanzi Libre First things first, it's great to see the Southwark Playhouse open again. Set halfway down New... Michael Coveney: Big Apple bites and Manhattan memories You should always do new things in familiar cities. Over the past few days in New York, I walked a... : Kendal & co in Podcast Relatively Speaking Q&A Last night (21 May 2013), 140 Whatsonstage.com theatregoers attended Relatively Speaking at the West... 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... Kimberley Walsh & Denise Van Outen toast Tointon in 1st Night Photos: Relatively Speaking Strictly Come Dancing stars Kimberley Walsh, Denise Van Outen and Artem Chigvintsev toasted former S... ATG acquires Broadway's largest theatre The Foxwoods, home of Spider-Man In another significant step for transatlantic theatre relations, the UK’s biggest theatre ... Sheila Hancock shows wild side in Video: Barking in Essex trailer As this new trailer reveals, Sheila Hancock has had a dramatic TOWIE-style makeover for her forthcom... : Critics convinced by Review Round-up Relatively Speaking? Lindsay Posner's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking opened at the Wyndham's Theatre las... Relatively Speaking Goodness knows why Alan Ayckbourn's debut success has had to wait 46 years for its first West End ...