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ensemble theatre · althea theatre · Ages 15+ · United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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June 21, 2017 stage raw and la bitter lemons original article

What I liked

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What I didn't like

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My overall impression

Having moved from London back to LA on the day my UK visa expired, I couldn’t help but empathize with Hannah (Lilac Yosiphon, who also wrote the play), an Israeli woman who once taught music but now works as a barmaid in London while “in-between visas.” In walks Jordan (Sam Elwin, who wrote the music), a 21-year-old British man who, after losing his job, wonders if he should move back home. “Home is where the pub is,” says Hannah. She wants to make London her home, even if governmental red tape makes it difficult for her. Their connection is immediate and sincere as they both open up about their lives and hopes. The play then jumps forward ten years. Jordan has moved on and built a life, while Hannah seems to be in stasis. Her once giggly charm has been worn down with life’s disappointments.

This is a simple and charming story that’s all too relevant in Brexit Britain and, here, in “Build a Wall”/“Travel Ban” America. Because of its simplicity and pub setting, this would have been perfect if staged at a pub or bar (Three Clubs for example). Yosiphon is captivating as the younger Hannah and impressively transforms into an older Hannah whose optimism has dwindled. Likewise, Elwin delights as the young and curious Jordan, and although he’s not quite as believable ten years older he does bring an endearing naivete.

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