Never Too Old fails to deliver on all counts

You're Never Too Old SUS-151027-142551001
You're Never Too Old SUS-151027-142551001

This is the first play by Steve Wood, primarily a writer of children’s books and TV scripts.

He has teamed up with Anton Benson Productions and the play, directed by Danusia Iwaszko, visits Eastbourne as part of a UK tour.

Highly praised at the Edinburgh Festival 2014, and with a bench, piles of autumn leaves and a painted backdrop as the set, it is the type of two character production which lends itself more to the intimate, shoe-string surroundings of fringe theatre.

Nevertheless, the open spaces of Devonshire Park Theatre drew a good-sized audience on opening night.

Possibly attracted by the names of two actors well-known from television, Diane Keen who plays Ada, and Graham Cole as Tommy.

This couple, past middle-age, and apparently meeting for the first time in the park, soon launch into banal conversation laced with banter. Tommy, clutching a bottle of vino, as park bench regulars often do, whilst Ada is appropriately protective of her handbag.

For the first thirty minutes, the play, which lasts just over an hour, has the feel of a stand-up comic’s script which is desperately seeking laughs.

Tommy launches into song, “Love and marriage go together like a hearse and carriage”, whilst Ada, when visiting London and experiencing ‘the rat race’ on Euston Station confuses it with the play ‘The Mousetrap’.

Billed as a bitter sweet comedy that examines relationships, loneliness and humanity, it fails on all counts.

The story revolves around the angst Ada experiences when she is given an un-used ticket, first-class as it turns out, for a train journey from ‘up north’ to visit her son and granddaughter in London.

In an effort to produce some sort of credible ending to this unfunny scenario it turns out that the couple had once been married which provides the cue for them to mawkishly walk off into the sunset.

Poignant it ain’t. Sad? Yes, but probably not in the way the author and producer intended. Roll-on panto! By Roger Paine.