Writer: Dave Simpson
Director : Bob Eaton
Reviewer: John Roberts
The Golden Oldies may not re-invent the theatrical wheel, it may not have anything new to say, but what it lacks in originality it more than makes it up with a genuine sense of warmth.
Adele (Ruth Alexander Rubin) heads up an over 60s community choir in a New Brighton day centre, the attendees are a mix of eccentric characters who are more than familiar to us all. However the status quo is flipped a little when Faryl (Hayley Hampson), a hip hop loving singer is forced to spend her time on probation helping the Golden Oldies find their voice, and with the help of aging rocker Benny (Paul Kissaun) and his good-looking and charming nephew Matt (Greg Fossard) they take the group from the green grass of Jerusalem to the Rock ‘n’ Roll hits of the 50s and 60s.
Writer Dave Simpson, probably known locally as one of the founding members of the popular JB Shorts in Manchester, provides a play that has plenty of humour, and a healthy dose of nostalgia to keep the warm and appreciative audience entertained, the concept of the piece never outstays its welcome and it’s refreshing to see a cast made up primarily of older actors, who more than stand their own on the Royal Court stage, which in the past has been home to more raucous affairs.
The cast is a delight to watch, they may be in the higher figures in age but their energy and vibrancy is nothing short of electric. Dennis Conlon as the joker Johnny is like a coiled spring, as soon as he’s let off he bounces all over the stage, he’s an impressive drummer too. Annie Edwards as the feisty Norren and Olwen Rees as the love lost Jane add a great balance to the female old guard. Kissaun is powerful and vibrant as the ageing rocker Benny while Fossard and Hampson balance out the age gap with delightful performances as the younger members of the group.
The show however is stolen by a heart-warming and ultimately life-affirming performance from Eithne Brown as young onset dementia sufferer Beryl, her end of act one rendition of Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me is nothing short of perfection and gives the show a touching reveal, but more importantly gives her a role really worth playing on the Royal Court stage.Sharing the stage with the cast are members of The Royal Court Community Choir who really help the show’s musical numbers take centre stage.
The Golden Oldies is a sure-fire winner and is the theatrical equivalent of a long,soft hug from your favourite grandparent.
Runs until 14 May2016 | Image: Contributed