Play losing nothing at Abbey Theatre, St Albans
LOSING Louis is an unusual play in that it combines great comedy with huge pathos and a strong seam of Jewish tradition. On the face of it the play, which is currently being performed at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans by the Company of Ten, cannot be cate
LOSING Louis is an unusual play in that it combines great comedy with huge pathos and a strong seam of Jewish tradition.
On the face of it the play, which is currently being performed at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans by the Company of Ten, cannot be categorised - but there is no doubt that it works.
It cleverly tracks backwards and forwards in time so that half the scenes feature the eponymous Louis and the trials and tribulations of his life while in the remainder, he is the catalyst for events which emerge when his sons come together for his funeral.
Both are set in the same bedroom where the main protagonist of the present-day action Tony is not seen but is "hiding" under the bed where Louis is having an adulterous affair with Bella.
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That same Tony, 50 years on, carries a lot of baggage from his childhood and it is those issues which lie at the heart of the play.
Having said all that, Losing Louis is a hilarious play in places, not least because of the quality of its cast and their ability to adapt to both the comedic and serious aspects of the play.
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The ever-reliable John Pyke takes the role of Tony and plays it for plenty of laughs and more than a shot of pathos with no little help from Harriet Rowlands as his long-suffering wife Sheila. As a comedy duo, these two are excellent and play off each other very well.
Tony's nemesis is his rich and successful brother Reggie, a fine performance from John Stenhouse, who turns up for the funeral with his glamorous wife Elizabeth, the willowy Katherine Barry.
Greg Oram is the flustered Louis, in love with Tasha Kistnen's Bella but committed to his wife Bobbie - a convincing performance by Caron Joseph as a woman who knows what her "LuLu" as she calls him is up to but chooses not to acknowledge it.
Losing Louis, which is directed by John Querfurth, is great entertainment with more than a few issues thrown in, not least sibling rivalry and family secrets.
It runs until Saturday and tickets can be obtained from the box office on 01727 857861.