By Isabella Fraser
In an Edinburgh Festival where it can often feel like there is a disproportionate amount of ‘young companies’ and energetic ‘amazing new comedies’, it is a rare treat to attend a show and see new writing that caters to different generation, let alone an older generation, an older generation that actually attends theatre in droves.
The Bottle Room at The Mash House where this play was performed, is an airy space at the top of the building, allowing a welcome stream of natural light to enhance the atmosphere. A simple set consisting of a park bench and a rubbish bin set the scene for this two-hander comedy about family, loneliness and the fears that being out of your comfort zone can bring.
Steve Wood’s writing is funny, empathetic and heart warming as the two characters Tommy (Ian Lavender) and Ada (Ruth Madoc) sit down together but seem poles apart in nature. If you have ever been frustrated by a parent (or grandparent’s) attitude to modern day living and doing something spontaneous, there is much you will recognise in this piece.
Danusia Iwaszko’s direction could benefit from more movement, as the pacing seems unnecessarily static at times. She subtly adds moments of pathos however, as you feel for the challenge both characters experience in stepping outside of everyday routine, which Lavender’s ebullient Tommy deals with by singing snippets from songs to sooth charged moments.
Lavender himself has a deft and seemingly effortless ability for conveying deep, underlying feelings with merely a brief look or change of pace. Through a beautifully understated emotional journey, he keeps the audience guessing until the end, which makes the twist in the tale all the more surprising.
You’re Never Too Old runs until 24 August (not 12) at Just the Tonic @ The Mash House at 18.40. Running time is 1 hour.