Now This Is Not The End @ The Arcola Theatre Review

Rose Lewenstein’s new play, premiering at the Arcola, is a well-achieved reflection on the importance of legacy, of our memories and stories that are passed through generations until one day “nobody can remember” them anymore.

 This is a story that is easy to relate to as it bears the perspective of three generations: the grandmother Eva, the mother Susan and the girl Rosie who is turning into a woman. This family is slowly separated by the passing of time: Eva’s memories start to fade and Rosie decides to move to Germany where she spent her year abroad and where she fell in love with a German boy. Susan is the one who struggles most and suffers with this distancing of her own mother and daughter. Portrayed in a very tangible and emotional way this play explores the sensitive theme of aging and loss – the loss of what makes us what we are – our memories. The family relationships are very credible as the whole cast do a tremendous job.

Brigit Forsyth as Eva gives a particularly striking performance. She may seem to be just an adorable old lady who we pity for being on the verge of Alzheimer’s – but in fact she is much, much more. The scene where she tells of her particularly traumatising childhood to her daughter, is where we see her real personality coming through – a very down-to-earth, practical woman who never knew love. Susan, played by Wendy Nottingham, is what one would describe as a woman on the verge of a breakdown, as she sees everything changing around her. Jasmine Blackborow as Rosie is very compelling to watch as she gently starts straying away from her family to eventually create her own home, along with her own story.

The men in the play are no less impressive in their ability to portray their characters in a believable and accurate way: Daniel Donskoy as Sebastian, Rosie’s boyfriend, Andrew Whipp as Paul, Susan’s husband, and perhaps the most arresting performance coming from Bernard Lloyd playing the proud Arnold, Eva’s husband. His resistance in accepting his old age and the fact that he is no longer as able to do things as before is heart wrenching.
The passing of time is never an easy thing to accept for those who are at the end of their time – the future is something only the young ones look for. This is the hard reality Lewenstein grasps in her play, enhanced by the fine touch of Katie Lewis’ direction. 4/5

Review written by Sofia Moura.

Now This Is Not The End is currently showing at the Arcola Theatre until Saturday 27th June. For more information on the production, visit here…

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