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You're Never Too Old by Steve Wood - presented by Organised Chaos Productions

Published by: Caroline May on 24th Oct 2011 | View all blogs by Caroline May
Steve Wood’s new play is a poignant portrayal of two lonely people trying to find some meaning for their existence.

The scene  opens with an elderly woman, Ada, sitting on a park bench eating a takeaway: “One pound twenty for a penn’orth of chips – they want locking up”.  A formidable handbag is gripped tightly across her chest as both shield and weapon, and we can tell her emotions are buttoned up as tightly as her coat. 

The entrance of a whiskery tramp, Tommy, shouting and swearing as he swigs from a bottle, does nothing to improve Ada’s mood.  Despite her rebuffs Tommy seems determined to strike up a conversation, and as the two mismatched pensioners tentatively swap details about their empty lives a fragile bond forms between them. 

The ebullient and energetic David Milne makes Tommy – initially an aggressive and unappealing old wino – into a funny, charming and sympathetic figure.  His uninvited overtures of friendship hide a desperate craving for companionship; he even chats to the local stray dogs.  It’s a shame that his character is underused, lapsing into a sounding board for Ada’s monologue.

Pat Brocklehurst’s authentic local accent and deadpan delivery are perfect for Steve Wood’s warm and amusing northern dialogue, although Ada’s attitudes to decimalisation, cappuccinos and public phone boxes are so out of date I thought she must have been in prison for the last forty years.

Director Laura Vorwerg does an excellent job of making an everyday conversation into a moving drama, and designer Victoria Vernon has magically transformed the basement of Taurus Bar on Canal Street into an autumnal park.  As well as the typical wooden bench and green slatted rubbish bin, there’s a thick carpet of leaves which covers the entire floor.  As the musty smell of leaf-mould perfumes the room and the leaves crackle underfoot you really feel as if you’re in that park with Ada and Tommy.  It’s indicative of the company’s attention to detail that they go beyond mere set decoration to create a sensually immersive experience for their audience.

You’re Never Too Old
Presented by Organised Chaos Productions
Touring to Levenshulme Festival (31 October) and
Smiths Restaurant, Eccles (30 Nov & 1 Dec)
Tickets: £7.50/£5.50 (conc)
Further details from:
www.organisedchaosproductions.co.uk

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