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27 November 2014
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June, 2003
Old World
Angela Thorne
Angela Thorne.

Can a cast of two hold your attention for an entire play?

Lucy Chattoe was impressed by the captivating story of love in the twilight years.


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Old World
June 16 - 21
The Oxford Playhouse

By Lucy Chattoe

Unsure as what to expect from a production in which the scenario is based upon the interaction of just two characters, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the performance by the lead actors to be thoroughly engaging. Angela Thorne as Lidya and Tony Britton as Rodion in Aleksei Arbuzov's Old World quickly warm into the roles, initiating a humorous repartee and a growing chemistry between them. Thorne in particular manages to convey a distinct eccentricity as Lidya that gradually mellows as her relationship with Rodion develops.

Tony Britton who also stars in the play
Tony Britton who also stars in the play

The bond between them initiates with a fiery first encounter when Lidya arrives at the sanatorium. From this unlikely foundation they build a rapport that grows into a gentle understanding and love for each other, but a somewhat reluctance to accept it. Through the use of witty lines, delivered with perfect comic timing by Britton, Old World deals with the fear of growing old and being left alone. Both Lidya and Rodion re-examine the past and their youth, their 'old world', yet learn to face the new world of old age, and to do so together. You are never too old to fall in love.

Old World contains a pleasant balance of amusing pearls of wit: "growing old is boring, but it is the only way to a long life". This is tempered with scenes of great poignancy, which I found very moving, such as the story behind Rodion's wife.
This delightful play is very touching, yet manages to make the audience chuckle on a regular basis. It certainly lingered in my mind, as I am sure it will in many others.

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