(Kate Kellaway’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/15.)
The first thing that makes you want to cheer is the Print Room’s new home: the Coronet cinema in Notting Hill Gate, London. Once seedily neglected, it is now basking in the tender loving care of a five-year restoration plan. Its walls are red and pink, all its Victorian details respected – it’s a wonderful home for a theatre. Just outside the auditorium, an old-fashioned cinema noticeboard announces its first theatrical bill: Solomon and Marion.
Lara Foot is a South African playwright and director, and this tense, entertaining and moving two-hander, first performed at Edinburgh in 2013, is a knockout. It’s wonderful to watch Janet Suzman and see at such close range what great acting is. Marion, alone in her house in rural South Africa, is writing a letter to her daughter who has emigrated to Australia. It’s a wonderfully nuanced performance, with minute changes of pitch and pace, full of grief, humour and defiance. “‘Problems with the old ticker make me a little lethargic… You’ll be pleased to hear I’ve stopped smoking,’” she says, reading aloud what she has written as she languorously lights a cigarette.