by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 24/10/12

A new musical by David Reiser and writer Jules Tasca is making its UK debut at the Giant Olive Theatre for a try out week. b Billed as an ode to love and life,it is an intimate four hander telling the story of a seventy something year old man who falls in love with a seventeen year old waitress who reminds him of his late wife.
It begins with the elderly man lying in a hospital bed, reliving his past life. He is assisted in this by his rather unpleasant, puritanical sister, Cora, who has persisted in feeding him healthy heart food - boild meat and vegetables. He is dying for something he can actually taste and escapes to a diner where ther specialise in cholesterol-heavy items like T bone Steak and hash brown potatoes (with lots and lots of butter) He is attracted to the waitress Cara (Leigh Lothian)who is very young and very pretty with long tumbling dark hair and somehow reminds him of his dead wife Danielle. Actually they couldn't be more unlike physically and this is something that is very confusing about the production.
He falls heartlong in love with her, supplies her with huge tips every night and eventually buys her a car for her birthday - much to the horror of sister Cora who sees his money dwindling away. Also to the horror of the girl's father - so he reluctantly takes the car back, but gives her the keys so she can use it as she pleases.
He is regularly visited by the ghost of his ex wife - Danielle - played sometimes by Leigh Lothian and sometimes by the older actress - tall and blonde Pippa Winslow.She entertains him at one point with some paper tearing and song about Imagination which appears to have absoltuly no relevance to the story - unless I missed something.
One has to realise that this performance is only for one week and is in the nature of a tryout - almost like a rehearsed reading without the books - so we cannot expect too much in the way of subtlety. But the young producer Katy Lipson and the director Matthew Gould were responsible for the wonderful version of Edwin Drood at the Arts recently - which also had a somewhat rocky start before it came ito its own, so we know that they have their heads in the right place and we can expect something coming out of this production. Matthew Hendrickson is in voice and is as excellent as it is possible to be playing the old man and Leigh Lothian is enchanting as the little girl and has a truly delightful soprano voice which she uses to great effect.
Andrea Miller is the sister - obviously enjoying her role as a completely horrible woman - totally selfish with no redeeming features except for her love for her brother which we find out in the end is only her fear of being alone that is the cause of her affection.
American actress Pippa Winslow as Danielle seems a bit at a loss at the moment - the part is not fully realised - probably the fault of the playwright.
This is a bold stab at the musical and we shall see what the producers make of it in the months to come. Good luck!"

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