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Actor Oliver Cotton’s new three-hander, set in 1986, can’t quite decide what sort of play it is. And, more crucially, the device that reunites his characters after a thirty year separation doesn’t ring true.

What begins as a comedy - with septuagenarian Jewish New Yorkers Elli and almost retired accountant husband Joe   (The Simpsons' Harry Shearer)  practicing for a senior ballroom dancing competition the following day - turns into an exposure of long-buried secrets and a moral debate about how justice should be meted out to war criminals.

Despite those reservations, the performances - and the matrimonial bickering of a long-established relationship - hold the attention.

As Joe’s estranged brother Billy who suddenly appears on their Brooklyn doorstep in the middle of winter, sockless and wearing a mismatched Hawaiian shirt and heavy suit, John Bowe makes the best of an unconvincing character who has, on the spur of the moment, taken matters into his own hands whilst holidaying in Florida and now feels the need for fraternal backup.

And Maureen Lipman’s Elli, combining spot on comic timing and later emotional desolation, goes a long way to compensate for the overload of exposition and predictability with which Cotton burdens David Grindley’s production.


Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace,
Finsbury Park, N4 3JP

Tube | Finsbury Park 
Until 18th August£22.50
parktheatre.co.uk

 

Photo: Manuel Harlan


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Daytona - theatre review: Oliver Cotton's new play at Park Theatre, London
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