Sunday, 13 May 2007

Review: Elling

Elling at The Bush Theatre is a delightful Norwegian play adapted by Simon Bent (Under The Black Flag at The Globe last year) from a novel by Ingvar Ambjornsen (he could be the Norwegian Martin Amis/JK Rowling for all I know) and directed by Paul Miller (French without Tears and Total eclipse recently). I attended a packed Saturday matinee of the play, packed due to the presence of John Simm, who recently starred in the TV hit ‘Life on Mars’. And I have to say that Mr Simm acquits himself brilliantly and surely lives up to the expectations of even his most ardent fan.
The play, a comedy of manners ultimately, revolves around an unlikely pair of men brought together in a mental institution and their eventful release into the Norwegian equivalent of ‘care in the community’ in Oslo. Simm plays our eponymous hero, a mass of nerves, insecurities and tics, but also a secret talent for poetry. His flatmate and friend Bjarne, a huge simple orang-outang (as he styles himself) like man, is brilliantly portrayed by Adrian Bower (C4’s Teachers). But Simm must get the ultimate acting credits for a totally believable performance, no mean feat in a very comical play. Simm and Bower’s interaction is a joy to watch, their tempers may fray but their care for one another always shines through, in the end they simply need each other. The support is solid; Jonathan Cecil as an elderly poet, Keir Charles as a right on social worker and Ingrid Lacey as Bjarne’s pregnant love interest. There are some brilliantly funny moments (especially telephone related), and the whole play is rather touching. You certainly leave the theatre with a satisfied grin

1 comment:

Interval Drinks said...

Absolutely. A sweet and uplifting piece of theatre and Simm was quite wonderful.