The play introduces us to a family coping in the aftermath of the death of
The father. His wife Flora, an ex-model, and son Felix, a theoretical
astro-physicist, seem to have no way to communicate. Flora (Hayley
Mills) is self-obsessed and superficial, Felix (Hugh Sachs - whose performance I greatly enjoyed) is at a crisis point in his search for the next step in the unification theory that will bring together quantum mechanics and
relativity (no physics degree necessary!).
As the play progresses, we find
out, as does Felix, that his mother has had a long term affair with George
(Paul Hecht) a local coach operator whose daughter Rosie (Carla Lang in a creditable first major role) had an affair with Felix many years before.
Actually, as Felix finds out, whilst Rosie has now come to terms with
dumped by him, he was never told that he has a daughter, now seven. The gaps
between these relationships are filled by the enigmatic gardener (John
Burgess) and Flora's good companion Mercy (Brigit Forsyth). It is
role to bring some light relief, and pathos, into this play and Forsyth
that with great style.
The play speaks to many issues; family life, making your mark and finding
own meaning in the world, it touches on both the
great themes of existence and the minutiae of daily activity.
Perhaps in the touring version there is not always the stage space allowed
the original. Certainly, in the version I saw the actors did seem to be
standing in a line across stage talking to each other rather too often.
apple didn't fall, what a shame, a circle not closed and an opportunity
but it just didn't happen that night.
Don't get me wrong - this was a good night's theatre - but there is
missing, some unifying force that would have made it great. By the end, I
like Felix, in that I'd seen all the pieces of the puzzle, but just
find the equations to put them together.
- Robert Iles (reviewed at the Theatre Royal, Bath)