Review: The Journey to Venice, Finborough Theatre - funny, charming and bittersweet
What do you do when your escape mechanism from the pain of past events is no longer available to you?
Edith (Annabel Leventon) and Oscar Tellman (Tim Hardy) enjoyed travelling when they were younger and able. It was diverting - a distraction. But now, in their later years, their bodies and budget don't allow them to venture far outside their flat. So they improvise.
Bjorg Vik's play invites you into the world of Edith and Oscar, and it is a world full of literature, poetry, imagination, and pretend travels.
There is teasing, laughter, vivid recollections, sensible shoes and packed lunches. So evocative are their recreated trips that plumber Christopher (Nathan Welsh) and home help Charlotte (Vivian) both get drawn in, 'travelling' with them to Venice.
But bubbling underneath the fun are financial worries and a deep-rooted hurt. Oscar doesn't always remember, and Edith uses that to cover up their money troubles while finding ways to generate some extra cash to supplement his pension.
Leventon and Hardy make an excellent stage couple, convincing as partners who've lived a life of love and tragedy together, comfortable and occasionally irritated by each other's company.
While the play reflects on regret and missed opportunities, it is refreshing to see the fun, familiarity and comfort in each other's company the two share.
Sometimes the story and poetry readings are a little long - although the 'awkward' passage reading from Lady Chatterley's lover was very amusing.
The Journey to Venice is a funny play, charming and bittersweet, and I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.
Journey to Venice, Finborough Theatre
Written by Bjorg Vik, translated by Janet Garton
Directed by Wiebke Green
Running time: 1 hour and 15 minutes without an interval
Booking until March 25; for more information and to book tickets, head to the Finborough website.
Women, Beware the Devil, Almeida Theatre ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and a half, booking until 25 March
The Beach House, Park Theatre ⭐️⭐️⭐️ booking until 11 March
Trouble in Butetown, Donmar Warehouse ⭐️⭐️⭐️ booking until 25 March
Phaedra, National Theatre ⭐️⭐️ for the staging ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for the play and performances booking until 8 April.
A Streetcar Named Desire, Almeida Theatre ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and a half; transferring to the West End on 20 March.