The Other Palace theatre in Westminster near Buckingham Palace played host to the read through the performance of John Warrington’s new play Living the Dream which took place on Wednesday 28th August, it is now currently in production and expected to be on Stage early 2020.
Upon watching the read through the performance of Living the Dream, I took some time to consider this new play by John Warrington. The narrative is based upon the true story of a letter written to George Best from a Romanian political prisoner. Each of the main three characters played by Diane Keen as Ana, Bill Fellows in the role of George Best and Stephen Donald as John Lennon, appear an unlikely trio of characters be the subject of this play with music. However, they take us on an unexpected path to another life and as the story unfolds, each of their characters is woven together brilliantly.
John Warrington has captured a very poignant subject from the historical archives. Ana is based partly on a lady who lived during the post-war re-education programme in Romania and who was subjected to vile and heinous abuse and torture. Ana’s story is juxtaposed with the lives of George Best and John Lennon from just before their rise to fame and up to their deaths.
Brian Capron’s character Popescu, the Prison warden of Mislea Prison where he instigates the Communist Government,s post-war programme of targetting the elite which was known as the re-education programme. Popescu represents the psychological aims of the programme; his conflicting feelings and actions leave the audience in a position of never being sure about his motives or reasoning behind his appalling behaviour.
Spirituality is an important theme throughout the play and it questions redemption and forgiveness. Whether the audience believes in life after death or not is not important. The way in the play explores these themes gives us plenty of “food for thought”. Opening up questions on how we treat each other in life and if we do get to the “waiting room” do we forgive those who have abused us in this world?
The musical numbers in the performance are poignant and you could not have the legend John Lennon play a role in which he didn’t sing at least once. there are some well-timed humorous parts in the script too which break up some of the very heavy drama, comic relief is very welcomed during some scenes.
At times during the evening, the writing was so dense that I closed my eyes and visualised how some of the scenes might take their form when they are staged. Director Katherine Mount has so much scope with this play and her job is certainly not going to be straightforward and I look forward to seeing the finished product.
Venue 28th August 2019
The Other Palace,
12 Palace Street