Wilton’s Music Hall, London – until 28 September 2019
The moment you step inside Wilton’s Music Hall you are entering a building steeped in history and character. Many of its features are original, dating back to when it first opened in 1859. Plain brickwork and restored walls and features from the period all add to the beguiling charm of the experience of watching a first-class musical production in this venue.
Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story tells the love story between the Jewish couple Chaya (Mary Fay Coady) and Chaim (Eric Da Costa). Meeting by chance after they had fled from Romania to Canada in the early 1900s, the couple takes you through their journey through music and dance. You are given an insight into the horrific events that they experienced before leaving Romania. It’s quite a harrowing in places but then history often is.
The Narrator for the 80-minute performance is Ben Caplan. Well what a fantastic performance he gives, I was entranced by his character’s presence on the stage at all times. With an ever-changing tone and fast-flowing dialogue, he throws in some open untruths which he admits to the audience every time which keeps you engaged in the story. A very unusual style which he carries off with perfect precision. A first-class fascinating actor to watch in character.
The Music Hall has been perfectly chosen for this production, providing excellent acoustics and atmosphere to this extremely well-produced musical. As part of the audience, you are adding yourself to its ongoing history.
Costume designerCarly Beamish has kept the costumes plain and from what I would have expected to see from the period of the early 1900s. The simple black dress worn by Chaya is a simple design but looks very effective alongside Chaim’s trousers, shirt and waistcoat.
Director and set designer Christian Barry creates an unusual stage set inside what looks to be a converted storage container with doors on one side. Once the doors are opened you are invited in to watch the lives of the couple unfold.
Playwright Hannah Moscovitch has taken the heart-wrenching story based on her paternal family and placed it into this thoughtful, entertaining and powerful theatre production. A real credit to her families history and a brilliant performance all round.
Ben Caplan-The Wanderer
Mary Fay Coady-Chaya, Violin
Eric Da Costa-Chaim, Woodwinds
Kelsey McNulty-Keyboard and accordion
Created by Hannah Moscovitch, Ben Caplan and Christian Barry.
Songs by Ben Caplan and Christian Barry.
Photography by Face Acra.
Running from 18th-28th September 2019
Check out the link below for details and future productions