The Old House
Brighton Fringe, 20201
May 28 – June 27
Kate Maravan is an exceptional actress with a polish’d pedigree. From wherever in the world, & from wither which angle, her one woman play – The Old House – is nothing but enjoyable. Some will like it more than others, that’s for sure, but no-one will ever dismiss the play; it is too raw, too tender, too well done to ever think otherwise.
The crux of the content is a mother-daughter getaway to a former holiday home by the sea, somewhere beyond Chelmsford. The daughter is approaching middle-age & the mother definitely has dementia’s onset hovering over all her actions & words. Kate swaps between the two characters with a snap & a flop, tansitioning seamlessly with a well-timed face wrinkle, or a relocation of the head’s angle.
Kate: We’re off to the old house, all the way to the coast
Mother: The old house, we had some wonderful summers at the old house
Inbetween these scenes we have various slices of the most marvellous performance poetry; it really is stuff well-written & recited just as well. Overall this minimalist masterpiece of mime, rhyme & memories is more than a fine watch, & more of a radio play than a physical play, & it positively works as a stream. The Old House literally pulses with life; while the subject matter of decaying mind & fraying consciousness is handl’d supremely delicately, born from the fact the play is an elegy to Kate’s own mother’s battles with the perilous & unforgiving wastelands of old age.
‘The Old House’ is the second play I’ve seen in the streaming age. The first was full of live action, sets & props, & I didn’t really enjoy it. The Old House, however, with only a smattering of sound effects to coax the mind into its cosy bosom, was something I got into &, dare say, enjoy’d. Not for everybody, but for those who its is for (you know who you are), The Old House is an entertaining spectacle of professionalism, love & joi de vivre.
Damian Beeson Bullen