On Ageing

I loved the idea behind this likeable but ultimately underdeveloped production from Fevered Sleep in which seven youngsters aged from 7 to 13 deliver quotes from individuals of all ages about what growing older means to them.

One by one, they walk on to the white stage, bare but for an elongated white desk with microphones and jugs of water, and the chairs on which the children take up position. By the end of this short devised piece, the set is cluttered with the paraphernalia of a lifetime, the items carried on one by one by the young performers and each capable of evoking a long lost memory.

A lawn mower, a bird cage, televisions, a fishing rod, a rocking horse, armchairs – the summation of years of storing no longer used possessions in the loft. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary except, perhaps, for the skeleton which stands as a reminder of where we are all eventually headed.

The contrast in the way in which the young and the old view the process of ageing comes across strongly – the children very much in the moment, the oldies recalling birthday celebrations stretching back decades – and the verbatim quotes coming, winningly, from the mouths of comparative babes both amuse and take on new resonance.

But, charming though it is, the piece needs to go deeper than the rueful “Ageing is realising you never had a Plan B” to fully justify its 70 minute running time.


Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ
0207 922 2922
Tube: Southwark / Waterloo
Till 9th October
£17.50 (under 26’s £10)

Review: Louise Kingsley