One Last Thing (For Now)
Old Red Lion Theatre
Tuesday 7th – Saturday 25th March 2017
Althea Theatre present the world premiere of One Last Thing (For Now), inspired by love letters from times of conflict in different cultures and languages. The production, written and developed over the last two years by Lilac Yosiphon with the ensemble, is a universal look at the language of love, the wounds of war and everything in between.
“An officer in Russia cannot bear to tell a woman, far away in Wales, that her husband died. Instead, he writes her love letters pretending to be him. A woman in London awaits a letter that will never come while another skypes love messages to her boyfriend in Afghanistan. A soldier addresses his last letter to a former teacher who refused to join the army. And, at the heart of the play, is a story of a woman giving up her own limbs to make contact with her husband, a recent amputee, in the trenches a hundred years ago.
The play interweaves narratives from WWI in Northern England, WW2 in France and Germany, the civil war in Colombia and stories from contemporary Britain and Israel. The internationally diverse cast play British and non-British characters (regardless of their own nationality) and perform in their native tongue as well as other languages. This international collaboration aims to empower a compassionate and honest cultural exchange”.
Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars
Put on a show born from passion, with limited budget, spend wisely, use a great production team, and you might just create a show like this one!
This is the way to do it!
And the highlight of the show has to be the Sound Design (Mark Sutcliffe).
The Sound isn’t complicated but it’s spot on throughout! Sound effects, mood underlying soundscapes, and occasional backing tracks pepper the evening. Even the Silence applied at just the right moment is correct!
With Live Video feeds from a mobile phone to an on-stage laptop the Skype calls can be presented as a live feature. Bravely relying on batteries and another nice touch that shows this wasn’t put together in 2 hours on load-in day!!!
Having seen “This is Not Culturally Significant” lit by Matthew Cater it comes as no surprise to see thematic lighting Cued exactly in with the Sound which ticks all the boxes on illumination, dimension, atmosphere and effect. This is a lighting designer who’s going places! The Cast hit their marks and we get to see how lighting absolutely makes the show!
With so many creative ideas that are just great there are bound to be a couple that don’t quite work in such a new piece of work. The torch effect moments are a little distracting as you’re left to ponder what they should be accomplishing and why it is that they’re not quite working. The show is long at 2 hours and 10 minutes. Although there was nothing “bad” as such I’m sure an audience would not complain if the final 2 scenes were cut and the audience went home earlier. It’s a hot auditorium and I felt sorry for the cast in some of their more cumbersome multi-layered costumes. If I could change one thing I’d lose the Trombone. OMG, loud to the point of painful and way too annoying to remain in the realm of entertainment!
I have to admit to a little favourite in Josephine Arden. Arden’s portrayal of the School Teacher was charismatic and captivating and her story felt a little understated and therefore totally real.
This show is a spectacle, emotionally moving and done with quality! The Cast all stand-out andhave plenty to be proud of in this production!
Carolina Herran, Cole Michaels, Elizabeth Stretton, Josephine Arden
Katerina Ntroudi, Sam Elwin, Thomas Wingfield, Tom Shah