not immediately obvious where
Director Mark Saunders keeps everything moving speedily along, and he’s certainly cast the roles well
Its owner, 71 year old Jim (a twinkly-enough Finlay McLean), would probably include himself among that second hand rubbish now. However, much to his annoyance, his quiet morning is soon interrupted. There’s the annoying – but very much expected – arrival of home-help Alison (Elaine Mackenzie Ellis,who initially has little to do but is able to build up some pathos later on). However, the play effectively starts with the unexpected, through-the-roof arrival of an previously unknown squatter in the attic – 19 year old neighbour Ash (Cameron Cunningham) who, having nowhere else to go after being thrown out by his aunt further up the street, has been lurking among the street’s eaves ever since.
The heart of Paul Charlton’s short play is how this odd couple – opposites in terms of attitude, understanding of the modern world, and (of course) age – eventually start to find ways to communicate, both in terms of emotions and their very different perspectives of a world in which – according to Jim – "people are not interested in beauty any more”. Especially when it’s old.
For the most part Charlton's script is fairly light-hearted: it has fun with Jim’s dismissal of Ash’s “BBC Three-style comedy” which he insists requires a lobotomy, but there’s a tinge of sadness too in his assertion that he doesn’t believe in hope, “full stop”. But the pair eventually open up somewhat: Jim about how he still misses his wife of 45 years; Ash’s thoughts on the father he’s never known. Occasional confusions arise as they enter a kind of role-play for each other’s benefit; just enough, it seems, to help turn this wannabe Scrooge into someone willing to employ “the echo effect” – what you get back in life depends on what you put in – and meet the OAP across the road for a cup of tea.
Director Mark Saunders keeps everything moving speedily along, and he’s certainly cast the roles well: McLean and Cunningham in particular gel well together. All the same, while entertaining enough, it’s lacking something to make it truly memorable.