4000 Days, Park Theatre, review: ‘Unmemorable’

The of 4,000 Days at the Park Theatre. Picture: Rory Lindsay

The of 4,000 Days at the Park Theatre. Picture: Rory Lindsay - Credit: Archant

The cast impress in this otherwise unevenly-paced show about a man who’s forgotten 11 years of his life, says Emily Govan.

Director Matt Aston explores an intriguing idea through Peter Quilter’s play which considers the perplexing question of what you would do if you forgot the last decade.

Michael has been in a coma for three weeks following a blood clot on the brain. On waking, he realises that four thousand days of his memory have been completely erased. He knows nothing of the news events of recent years and remembers nothing of the last 10 years with his partner Paul.

At his bedside, his mother Carol, appears to have aged ten years overnight.

As Paul fights to bring Michael’s memory back, he and Carol are at loggerheads in a primal struggle for his soul.

A pragmatic marketing man, Paul had effectively put a stop to Michael’s creative leanings as a painter. So Carol has never approved of her son’s uptight ‘beige’ lover and this seems the perfect moment to put an end to the relationship and wrest back control of Michael.

But as Michael regains his creative streak and a regretful Paul begins to see things a new way, could there be a more positive opportunity for a second chance?

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Alistair McGowan, who recently performed in An Audience with Jimmy Saville returns to The Park amd makes an appealing Michael, at first bewildered and confused but becoming more confident in his aims in life as the play goes on.

Daniel Weyman gives a sensitive portrayal of the boring but sincere Paul. Maggie Ollerenshaw steals the show as Michael’s vitriolic but highly perceptive and fiercely protective mother, constantly tugging on a cigarette and taunting Paul with well-aimed barbs yet nursing a sadness.

It’s a fascinating idea but while heartwarming the pace is too slow to start packing its punches, and the narrative too underpowered to justify its two hour running time. Ultimately diverting rather than being truly memorable.

Rating: 3/5

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