Saturn Returns

This short new play by American Noah Haidle takes an interesting concept but fails to fully realise the potential of the situation it creates. Apparently, the planet Saturn returns to the same place in the universe every thirty years, so we initially meet the still sprightly Michigan-based Gustin at the age of 88, six decades after his life changed forever.

He’s spent those years unable to let go of the past – the first thirty wasted mourning the death of his beloved wife in childbirth, then as long again clinging to the memory of the daughter who died on a trip to Mexico. Lonely and alone, he sees reminders of them both in the face of his new nurse, Suzanne – summoned more for the comfort of company than out of any medical necessity.

In flashback, he comes face to face with his younger self (at 28 and 58) to reveal the immediate events leading up to the loss of the women who were so all-important to him – and to suffer once again as he sees how he could, perhaps, have altered the path of fate.

There’s a certain poignancy in watching the old man observing and interacting with his past selves (played by different actors), but the most touching moment by far is when he clings, momentarily, to a distraught Suzanne. It becomes painfully clear just how starved of the warmth of human contact this old man has become.

The production could be more subtle, and the time-bending scene changes need to be speeded up, but (despite a terrible wig) Lisa Caruccio Came does a fine job of distinguishing between the three women whilst letting us see shades of each one in the personalities of the others.


Finborough, Finborough Road, SW10 9ED.
Tube: Earl’s Court Tube
0844 847 1652
Until 27th November
£11 -£15