Ages – Old Vic New Voices
We know you rely on London At Large to tell you about the best off radar events in town – and this has got to be some of the most dynamic theatre around. And it’s free!
The Old Vic, it turns out, run a community project called Old Vic New Voices comprised of the best amateur talent distilled from 1000’s of applicants. And then they write a show and put it on completely free for anyone who wants to see it.
Ages – the current work – is written by Alexandra Wood and directed by a lovely chap called Alexander Ferris. He is the force behind the community project and persuaded The Old Vic that it would be a good idea. We like people like him!
The story evolves around 92 year old Olive (played by Helen Evans in her first ever role) and the machinations of her family as they plan to sell her family home, more for their benefit than hers. Rather than await the green mini borne herald of her departure to one of God’s many waiting rooms, Olive pops out for a walk. It turns out everybody knows Olive. She’s part of the community – the real community. And those she doesn’t know, she makes a point of getting to know, even through their protective headphone barrier. She meets a kid on the street (face to watch Sophie Miller-Sheen) who becomes her Homeric companion. We discover Olive has set up a choir and had all sorts of excitements in her life which we see through flashback as she a awaits the end of a rainstorm in the shelter of her newest Greek restaurant owning friends. We should of course also unfairly (‘unfairly’ because there are so many worthy of mention) mention Adam Parkinson as a very naughty boy and Saffron Coomber wrestling deftly with an Odessian allegory.
Now, here’s a thing. The performance (and the rehearsals) take place in a fantastic space in a closed school in Bermondsey. I know it’s fashionable to boo and hiss the black cloaked evil landlord but this is a simple case of one of the biggest (and perhaps more enlightened?) making unused space available for community benefit while they ponder its future. So lets hear it for Grosvenor – they deserve their programme mention.
And talking of programme mention – here’s another thing. None of the cast get an individual mention against their roles. Try and work out who played what – just as well yours truly was willing to make the effort! Pretty hard when there’s dozens of them! And that’s not including the stunning London Community Gospel Choir led by Bazil Meade. Yep – there’s some cracking real live music too!
This show is so ‘off radar’ there aren’t even any production pictures on line, in the programme (or anywhere?) so we nicked something irrelevant out of the programme for this post’s header image. Handsome lad. Probably takes after his father.