Daytona at Park
Daytona is a remarkable show about morality, love and family. A new play by Oliver Cotton, it had its world premiere at the Park Theatre this month. Profoundly moving and very funny, this performance is exceptional.
Maureen Lipman and Harry Shearer play Ellie and Joe, an old married couple living in Brooklyn. Straight away they have the audience laughing. They make a brilliant married couple; their banter and chemistry is a joy to watch. However, the real sparks start to fly when John Bowe, playing Joe’s younger brother Billy, steps onto the stage. An absolute explosion of energy, his manic and passionate performance is breathtaking. Each actor brings an intensity to the show that is impossible to take your eyes off. The pathos that they create for their characters is so penetrating that it had many of the audience members close to tears.
As individuals, the cast are all brilliant. But what really makes this show so powerful is the chemistry between them. Each relationship – husband and wife, brothers, long-lost friends – is so real it is like watching your own family. They display the type of dysfunction, anger and passion that one reserves only for their family members.
David Grindley has created fantastic suspense as the director. Throughout the entire play the audience is filled with a sense of apprehension. It is as though they are constantly waiting for all of the character’s passion and pain to burst forth, making it all the more glorious when it does.
Thankfully, Cotton’s incredibly dry and witty script offered many moments of relief from the sheer force of the actor’s passion. The way his story slowly unravels is so intense that the humour is a necessary addition. Yet it does mean that when the show reaches its most poignant, it is all the more shocking and the audience is left a little breathless.
A profoundly powerful new play, Daytona is a gift. Its exceptional premier at the Park Theatre would be a tragedy to miss.
Daytona is on at the Park Theatre until 18th July 2013, for further information or to book visit here.