Silver & Gould

Classical Journey

Last on stage were Substance and Shadow Theatre Company introduced using placards by Substance and Shadow co-founder Rosie Mullin – somewhat in the style of a boxing ‘ring girl’ dressed in gold lamé. The first contestant on stage was Nathan Simpson, returning to his very engaging character ‘Len Silver‘. Len is a grasping entrepreneur from Birmingham who first appeared on stage in the Substance & Shadow production “Duplicity” in 2014.

Len now appears to be down on his luck, and sits at home watching daytime television in his dressing gown, reacting to a programme which the audience cannot see. A letter arrives, and Len is surprised to discover that his mother has died, possibly leaving a little something for him in her will. A new character, Len’s cousin Melvyn Gould played by Midge Mullin, then joins Len in the next act to watch a videoed last will and testament made by Len’s mother.

Melvyn is a very engaging character, gentle and unpretentious. Whereas Len is waiting impatiently to hear what he will get, Melvyn responds to his aunt’s words by reminiscing fondly about his happy memories of the woman herself. The disjointed conversation which results, punctuated by the continuing and ultimately disappointing message from Auntie Elsie, is reminiscent of Harold Pinter at his most confrontational.

The bequest, when it is finally announced, could not have been more galling for Len. Between them Len and Melvyn receive only a set of darts – which go to Melvyn.

Inventive as ever Len then immediately begins to hatch a plot to use the darts to take part in Jim Bowen‘s ITV game show “Bullseye” (which dates the action to the 1980s), with the express intention of leaving with the star prize.

The scene is set. Now read on . . .

Midge and Nathan are on top form, their characters are beautifully conceived by the writers (Midge & Rosie Mullin) and just as beautifully realised by Midge and Nathan on stage. Comic, but realistic and totally believable, Substance and Shadow’s new pairing will be well worth a visit.

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