King's Head Theatre in Islington to see The Upstairs Room. The venue is a small theatre at the back of a pub, and perfect for this play. The set and lighting design worked beautifully, giving the impression that you were seated in a messy attic room right from the start.
This show has a cast of just four actors, the role of Gordon played to perfection by Anthony Cozens, just as it was when the show ran in Oxford. The rest of the cast were captivating with Liza Callinicos adding glamour as Stella, and Bret Jones adding a hint of mystery as he played the Manager in a quirky and amusing way. Lucy Wray (Iris) gave a refreshing injection of energetic humour to the latter part of the show, just when it was needed in fact.
Having seen The Upstairs Room twice now, I can say the London show was much improved on the version I saw in Oxford but it was great to see how it has developed and what a fresh set, and clearly loads of work, can do for a play.
I don't know if it's just me but I do find the play itself quite weird, it's certainly not for theatre-goers that like an easy show to wash over them and a lot of glitz and glamour. However it is thought-provoking and the next morning I realised something that I hadn't during the show, which is always a good thing.
And at the end of the show I was introduced to the leading actor, Anthony Cozens, which was a highlight, it has to be said. Lucky me!
Star rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars but catch it while you can because the actors and set are five star.
The Upstairs Room is showing until 8th December 2012.
The programme includes the entire script for the play, and are sold in the theatre and on Amazon.
Follow my Entertainment list on Twitter, which includes some of the cast and crew from this show.
In the interests of full disclosure: I went to see this play
because the director is a friend of mine. However, no bias was used during the
writing of this review.