By Marilyn Barber
Although this play – which ran for more than a year in the West End starring Frances de la Tour and was made into a film starring Julie Andrews – is a two-hander, over the course of two hours there are more than six characters on stage.
Let me explain.
The action takes place in the consulting room of Dr Feldman (Matthew Ellison) where MS sufferer and musician Stephanie Abrahams (Rosie Hodgkinson) is seeking help to come to terms with the fact that she will never play the violin again.
Her husband, a famous composer, had persuaded her to book the sessions saying he felt they would help her to manage her condition.
Stephanie appears at first as a supremely confident woman, well dressed and prosperous, but each time she arrives for a consultation in her wheelchair her demeanour has changed.
The differences are at first barely imperceptible but become more dramatic as the story moves on.
Matthew Ellison is a chillingly cold psychiatrist who asks poignant and sometimes hurtful questions that impact negatively on his patient who subsequently reveals that her supposedly settled and secure life is far from that.
The razor sharp duels of dialogue between the two characters enable truths to surface that Stephanie would prefer to have remained hidden.
Rosie gets under the skin of her different incarnations with such skill that when she gets out of the wheelchair and falls, you feel you want to get up and help her and put a reassuring arm around her shoulder.
And the hackles rise as you find yourself condemning Dr Feldman for what you perceive as his heartless treatment of his patient. Or is it?
If you want to find out, you can catch this production, directed by Patricia Richardson at Bournemouth Little Theatre, Winton on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 April.
Tickets from 01202 513361 www.bournemouthlittletheatre.co.uk.
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