The Model Apartment
Ustinov Studio Bath
ParkReviewS by Gerry er
WHEN the final fadeout came ninety minutes from the start of this play the voice of Nat King Cole was heard singing one of his greatest hits, Unforgettable. And how appropriate it was because this really is a play that leaves strong indelible images and messages behind it. Like a modern painting it also leaves you wanting to have another closer in depth view of the play because you are sure that the mixture of reality, fantasy and imagination is not absolutely clear in your mind. Do not run away with the idea that because there is the feeling that not all the messages have been absorbed in one bite that this is an unsatisfactory production. Under Director Laurence Boswell’s strong guiding hand the cast bring the five characters at times frighteningly vividly to life. It all starts off so lightheartedly with Diana Quick, Lola, and Ian Gelder, Max, arriving in the dark at the flat they have been allocated until their new retirement condominium is ready. Both survivors of the Holocaust, they can not wait to take up their new residence away from the bustle of New York and the responsibility of taking care of their troubled grossly overweight daughter Debby, left behind in a home. These beautiful delightfully played few moments of peace as they discover that their temporary home is all show and no substance, are quickly shattered when Debby and her boyfriend, the equally disturbed Neil unexpectedly arrive. As the lightheartedness evaporates the scars left by the Holocaust emerge, with Lola recalling her time in the Concentration Camp with Anne Frank – or is it all imagination to blot out those horrible images? It is Emily Bruni, playing Debby and Deborah, who brings into focus the way in which Lola and Max’s past has so affected her life. Her powerful speech on the subject is a complete contrast to the almost knockabout comedy relationship with Enyi Okoronkwo’s extravagantly, but controlled, playing of Neil.
Despite wonderfully judged performances from Diana Quick and Ian Gelder and direction from Laurence Boswell not every message is as clear as Debby’s description of why she is as she is, but this is a play you can not ignore as Nat King Cole says in the lyrics of his song, it is Unforgettable.
by Kris Hallettr