08 June 2009

Aunt Dan & Lemon by Wallace Shawn

Aunt Dan - Lorraine Ashbourne
Father - Paul Chahidi
Flora - Rebecca Faulkenberry
June - Holly Goss
Lemon - Jane Horrocks
Mindy - Scarlett Johnson
Freddie - Ryan McCluskey
Andy - Martin McDougall
Jasper - Nathan Osgood
Mother - Mary Roscoe
Marty - Trevor White
Raimondo - Rene Zagger

Director Dominic Cooke
Designer Lizzie Clachan

Seen downstairs at the Royal Court during it's revival as part of the Wallace Shawn season. Mistakenly got a seat in the front row of the circle.

"My most intense memories really go back to my childhood, but not so much to the things that I did: instead I remember the things I was told"

We all remember a favourite aunty, uncle or grandparent, someone who, in our childhood, told us tales that made our toes curl and stories of wonder. For Lemon, it was Aunt Dan. A brilliant, intoxicating but dangerous woman who shared all the most intimate and daring secrets of her decadent, exotic adult world...

Aunt Dan and Lemon explores the frightening pathways of influence, the glamour of cruelty and the shadow side of nostalgia.

Running Time: 1hr 50mins, no interval

I can't say this play achieved what the last line of that quote from the Royal Court website implies that it intended (and I feel that should read 'shadowy' but I'm quoting so I shouldn't change it).
I was relieved that Ms Horrocks did not deploy her shrill missiles of declaration but I was not able to see where she was aiming to be. She was cute and warm but then chilling and ignorant. I'm pretty good at all of those myself but if I confuse people, they can walk away whereas this character was trying to communicate something to a paying audience.

I'm not sure where the fault lay and it didn't help that I was looking down at the stage rather than across or up, as I found myself following through with my downward glance into a fully closed eye position on more than one occasion. Some great slugs of text for the able cast to get their teeth into. Lorraine Ashbourne lit up the stage with what must have been exciting views in their time but now just serve as endorsements to the standard liberal mind. There were some of the cute set pieces you would expect from Mr Shawn but it didn't hit the spot for me. The press seemed to like it so perhaps we just went on a lack-lustre night. They only took one curtain all so perhaps we let the cast down too.