Review: Still Life and Red Peppers at the Old Red Lion, EC1
- Credit: Archant
The work of Noel Coward continues to provide an enduring and inexhaustible source of fruit for production companies and Islington’s Old Red Lion is no stranger in this regard, showcasing a double bill of his plays.
The first half of the evening is devoted to Still Life, the original 1936 stage play on which the film Brief Encounter was based. For those familiar with David Lean’s classic feature, this will provide an interesting point of reference. One that shows the foundations of what was to come.
Taken in isolation and on its own merit, Still Life is a mixed bag. As a story of an affair between two married individuals who meet on a weekly basis, it is not a premise that obviously engenders sympathy and understanding.
However, the ebb and flow of the story builds towards a crescendo that remains a nerve-shredding suggestion of possibility, discomfort and baked turmoil.
It is undiminished by the passing of time, thanks to its universally recognisable quandary and irritation.
You may also want to watch:
The cast boil their bristling anguish commendably, and Laura Hanna’s Dolly Messiter raises the heat even further.
Under comparison with the film, Still Life inevitably suffers, particularly with the loss of Laura Jessop’s inner monologue.
- 1 Police cordon in place after Essex Road pub 'assault'
- 2 Petrol station forecourts closed and long queues in north London
- 3 How some Islington tenants are losing their homes in a matter of minutes
- 4 Man killed and two injured in triple shooting
- 5 Thousands of care home staff yet to be vaccinated in London
- 6 Man killed in 'shooting' in north London
- 7 Finsbury Park man arrested on suspicion of second north London murder
- 8 New free map reveals the best walking routes in Hackney and Islington
- 9 Stop the Burn: Protest planned against Edmonton incinerator rebuild
- 10 Man jailed for rape of young girl in north London 40 years ago
It feels partial and incomplete, akin to hearing your favourite pop song and then removing the drums.
It’s the same song, yet also not quite the same. Not as satisfying.
Red Peppers, the story of music hall entertainers, and married couple, George and Lily Pepper is an absolute blast.
It tells a funny yet moving tale of a dying industry – that of music hall to the motion picture – and the nature of people.
It is undeniably brilliant, elevating the production to another level and providing an exhilarating climax to an evening of many emotions. More please.
Still Life and Red Peppers run at the Old Red Lion Theatre until August 24.