Now We Are Sixty, Holt

If you can remember Esther Rantzen's TV show That's Life you might be old enough to appreciate the style and content of this musical review.

If you can remember Esther Rantzen's TV show That's Life you might be old enough to appreciate the style and content of the musical review Now We Are Sixty at the Auden Theatre at Gresham's School.

Devised and directed by Amanda Waring, the review took a light-hearted view of age and ageing, from the cradle to the grave.

A well-contrasted trio of performers gave character and vitality to a selection of extracts of prose and poetry on the theme of age. Virginia McKenna's was the voice of dignified age: with her supple voice she made the most of extracts that deepened the tone from the light-hearted to the more serious. Amanda Waring brought comedy to the review with a variety of voices and accents but it was Derek Waring's telling one-liners that really brought the house down. Fiddling with his specs, he looked every inch the perplexed amiable old buffer.

Musical items such as the wonderful There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner showed the trio's versatility and added life to the show. Philip Mountford accompanied on the piano with style.

There were weaknesses in the show. The material was often trivial or sentimental. Age has produced some of the best writing in English but little of it was included. Why no Shakespeare? Why no Yeats? Had some more weighty material been chosen the show would have gained more contrast and variety.

But for many the thrill of the afternoon was simply seeing Virginia McKenna again looking and sounding as if 60 years was a mere nothing.

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