Thursday, 6 December 2012
Theatre review: Old Money
Wooley's play, in a likable if understated production by Terry Johnson (a late replacement? My ticket credits Robin Lefevre as director) is essentially a gentle inter-generational comedy of a woman rediscovering her life and her nerve, as symbolised by the bright red coat she buys, and which her family sees as terribly inappropriate for her. As a comedy it's a bit too gentle for my liking - there's a few really funny moments but for the most part it's about the level of the afternoon sitcom repeats Graham sits at home watching.
Love, Love, Love and The Last of the Haussmans in that she didn't get to enjoy her life or her money while she was younger, but she does make up for it here, and the end result is the same with her life having been comfortable (if not always happy) while her daughter and grandchildren are left to struggle. I think if we'd seen Joyce try to make Fiona understand that she's a person beyond just being her mother, I might not have minded so much when the younger woman has to pay for not realising it. The action is set a few years back, perhaps to suggest that the previously-isolated Joyce hasn't quite caught on to how bad the financial situation is. But even with Fiona and Graham being hard to like, seeing them snowed under with problems while her mother splashes out on treats makes Joyce's triumph hard to sympathise with, and I found myself siding with Fiona (fortunately not from personal experience, I hasten to add; my mum's awesome. As am I.)
Old Money by Sarah Wooley is booking until the 12th of January at Hampstead Theatre.
Running time: 2 hours including interval.