Southwark Playhouse, London
AT THE heart of James Fritz’s play is an economy that can only see the elderly as capital and, through three thematically connected sequences in The Fall, he conjures the future and the fate of an ageing population.
Two teenagers looking for somewhere to have sex find an old man who might have had a fall — or who might be trying to end it all — and a couple’s entire life flashes before our eyes with marriage, children and an ageing mother taking their toll as they struggle to make ends meet.
In the most compelling sequence, four elderly people share a room in a futuristic old people’s home. In theory, their every need is met by Petra, a kind of low-rent Alexa, but Petra doesn’t always seem to be connected.
The four find different kinds of comfort in each other and their optimism. But it’s never quite enough and so the “other option” — a kind of state-sanctioned euthanasia — becomes increasingly tempting. After all, their families get financial compensation.
Directed by Matt Harrison, Fritz’s depressing story of ageing is played out by members of the National Youth Theatre (pictured) and there’s no attempt here to “play old.” Rather, we’re encouraged to consider the implications such thematic and political debates have on young people. The realities they play out here are the realities they’ll eventually live through.
In an impressive company, Troy Richards and Sophie Couch bring a remarkable emotional maturity to a complex relationship, Josie Charles and Madeline Charlemagne are beguiling as two old ladies who find a surprising comfort in each other and Jamie Ankrah offers a thoughtful depth to an angry and betrayed old man.
While the futures depicted might be depressing, the upside is that the talent that the National Youth Theatre nurtures and supports is formidable.
Runs until May 19, box office: southwarkplayhouse.co.uk
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.