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Review: Noel Coward's Still Lives at The Old Waiting Room - Lost Text/Found Space Production




                  Noel Coward’s entertaining short play Still Lives, tells the tale of an accidental love affair between a married woman and a doctor after a chance meeting in a train station waiting room. If there was ever going to be a way to stage this short, yet intriguing play, then Lost Text/Found Space’s immersive production at The Old Waiting Room in Peckham Rye Station is the way to do it. Not only is it a performance of Still Lives but intertwined with Coward’s lesser known, but similarly themed, play Quadrille.

                  On arrival, we received a ticket and asked to mill around outside the station, shortly thereafter the cast, bedecked in turquoise blue suits, ushered us into the building and up three flights of stairs eerily repeating “it’s nearly time for the train”. After ascending to the performance space, we were met with a shell of a room, filled with lights, tables, and interspersed with chairs facing all directions.

The all-female cast skilfully play multiple roles, with some standout performances. Grace Haydn as troubled lover Laura, masterfully switching from unrequited love to suicidal despair, and Jade-Marie Joseph as the hilarious tea lady Myrtle who hysterically falls in love with the younger train conductor  Albert (Annabel Marlow). Marlow also plays side-splittingly funny, air headed gossip Dolly who had the audience laughing and guffawing with her fast paced Chelsea-ite drawl. The immersive nature of the show is captivating, however I didn’t feel the short modern dance performances between scenes, to a soundtrack of ghostly cast whispers, added much to the story.

                  The Old Waiting Room at Peckham Rye Station, currently a shell of a once proud Grade II listed building erected in 1865, is the perfect site for Still Lives. With active trains loading and unloading on both sides alongside a feint hum of commuter traffic, it provides the perfect atmosphere, complemented by beautiful lighting designed by Jack Hathaway and soundscapes by Lucy Harrison.

                  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Lost Text/Found Space’s immersive performance of Still Lives. For those who want to enter the world of immersive theatre, this is a perfect way to start. Performances continue through to 13th July at The Old Waiting Room at Peckham Rye Station and tickets and information available at www.losttextfoundspace.com



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