WORTH A LOOK?: ***
WHERE? Park Theatre RUNTIME: 140 minutes (with a 20-minute interval)
WHEN? 2/11, press night 5/11, runs to 30/11/19
Star Miriam Margolyes may be playing a woman who is housebound and sits predominantly in a wheelchair here but she has a hugely expressive face which leaves us in no doubt about what she is thinking.
- Read on for reasons including how to see this world premiere
This is the world premiere of Sydney And The Old Girl which was written by Eugene O’Hare, an actor playwright, radio and screenwriter.
It tells the story of Nell Stock played by Margolyes and her difficult relationship with her son Sydney (Mark Hadfield is convincingly dark) as they are visited by Irish carer Marion Fee, a sympathetic Vivien Parry.
The relationship between mother and son is a difficult one and, although there is some comedy here as they insult each other, it doesn’t take long before the extent of its abusive nature becomes clear.
One’s sympathies can’t help but be given to Nell, who is at the mercy of her abusive son, and carer Fee who is just trying to do her best in a very difficult situation.
Sydney nails his colours to the mast with an anger reserved for emergency sirens and a casual racism and homophobia bubbling never far from the surface.
Margolyes is very funny when given the chance and, although immobile, there’s plenty of movement in her face to suggest both a twinkle in her eye and a keen mind capable of manipulating those around her.
There’s a back story about a missing son and the plot revolves around Nell’s will as her last days are discussed.
We last saw Margolyes at the Park two years ago in Madame Rubinstein and, although this isn’t quite as funny and instead is much darker, it’s always a joy to see a star such as Margolyes shine so brightly in such an intimate venue.