This new play about an alternate life of the two lead Rolling Stones is overstretched.
There’s really not much to say about this brief three-hander, which is being staged in a tiny, 18-seat room below legendary Soho pâtisserie Maison Bertaux.
The concept behind writer-director Simon Mawdsley’s play – what if the two driving forces behind the legendary Stones had jacked in the music and got proper jobs instead? – is great, so it’s a shame it doesn’t translate into a particularly engaging piece of theatre.
Over the course of 45 minutes, a pair of septuagenerian men – one dressed in a leather jacket, the other a sharp pinstripe suit – resume a relationship that ended in a puff of abandoned ambition 50 years earlier. They drink tea and have heated arguments about this and that, exactly like two old pals who haven’t seen each other for half a century wouldn’t.
Regular interjections from a pixie-haircutted waitress bring flashes of life, her youth triggering sigh-laden recounts of the good old days and grumbling about how shit it is being old, but it’s not enough to stop the whole thing feeling like an over-stretched sketch.
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For one creative mind to single handedly write and direct an hour of captivating dialog is a triumph in itself, to do it whilst not hearing a pin drop, only at times of laughter, during that hour is even more so. One can criticise them "having heated arguments just like two pals who haven't seen each other for 50 years wouldn't etc etc" yes, but they would be missing the point. A writer: director with an hour to fill cannot set a scene that allows time for small talk and pleasantries, this was a hard hitting, poinient play that oozed nostalger and left us with a great twist, characteristics of which many Hollywood blockbuster success stories are based on..