Sunday, April 19, 2009

Theatre: A Song at Twilight

Arts Theatre, Cambridge, 18/4/2009

Late-period Noel Coward - 1960s, in fact - but definitely Noel Coward. If a lot of it seemed to be an excuse for the two leads to stand around spitting aphorisms at each other, well, they were pretty good aphorisms, and Peter Egan and Belinda Lang spat them pretty well.

And it does have some pretensions to theme. It's hopefully not giving too much away about the plot to note that it's quite explicitly a story from very shortly before the legalization of homosexuality in Britain, which occasionally gives it the air of a period piece. One imagines that, these days, rather more of the audience will be rather more shocked by the not-a-self-portrait-honest! lead character's crappy treatment of the people he supposedly loves or who love him than by any of that stuff - and the audience audibly gasped at one of his casual jibes about the German people, although I'd guess that this was at least somewhat consciously meant as part of the revelation of his real character. To the extent that he may be a self-portrait, it's a fairly brutal one - although having the two women in the play telling him what a genius he is, for all his flaws, from time to time, might be considered dubious.

But never mind the gay stuff - what dates this for me is the revelation that a well-preserved, quite stylish lady of a certain age has no teeth, just a full set of dentures. Yay for medical progress, is what I say.

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