Middle-age melancholia takes center stage as Vienna’s English Theatre puts on Arnold Wesker’s ultimately optimistic play about life after 50.
With a plot that initially sounds like a psycho-thriller – woman stalks celebrity and insinuates herself in his life against his will – Groupie instead goes the other way, exploring the loneliness, hopes and dreams of the autumn years. Matty Beancourt, an aging Cockney lady, feels connected to famous painter Mark Gorman after reading his autobiography and discovering he grew up on the same East End streets as her. Despite his less-than-enthusiastic replies to her letters, the persistent Matty keeps writing to the curmudgeonly artist, eventually deciding to visit her idol uninvited. When she finds Mark living destitute and neglected, she immediately starts fussing over him as he tries – and fails – to get away.
Matty’s sunny naïveté soon clashes with Mark’s frustrated, bleak outlook, only gradually settling into tentative affection and a precarious friendship during the course of the play. Penned by the legendary British dramatist Sir Arnold Wesker (himself turning 84 this year) in 2001 as a radio play for BBC 4, the production stars veteran actors Anne Kavanagh (last seen here in 2010’s Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks) and Brian Deacon and is directed by Andrew Hall.
Through Feb 20 (except Sun), 19:30,
Vienna’s English Theatre