The Model Apart­ment

Usti­nov Stu­dio Bath

Bristol Post - - NEWS -

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

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