REVIEW: When We Were Young, Crucible Studio

Have your say

THE impact of war on love coupled with regret and missed opportunity make for a moving 90 minutes in Nick Payne’s touching tale.

A UK debut for the first of three plays in the Roundabout season of co-productions from Sheffield Theatres and Paines Plough visits three points in the life of Violet and Leonard.

We first meet them as timid young lovers at a Bath hotel room in 1942 the night before Leonard is sent to war, Violet pledging to wait for him.

Set in the round of a purpose-built auditorium within the Studio, we witness Maia Alexander and Andrew Sheridan change costume and age themselves at dressing tables brought on set.

Years later Violet is a married mother when she secretly meets with Leonard, bitter his lover didn’t wait for him, fearing he was dead.

The story then leaps again, Violet now a widow with mature kids, Leonard ill and alone in a flat where lights flicker and a stormy sky rumbles much like the air-raid that sound-tracked that final night in Bath.

While Violet is slightly less believable in old age - the youthfulness of Maia hard to disguise without a longer spell in make-up – Sheridan’s features are more pliable.

But the interaction between her and the memory-challenged Leonard is gentle, funny and tangible as the two friends review their past love and life with a whiff of regret and ‘their song’ to guarantee a few tears.

Runs until Saturday, then returns Nov 24/26.

David Dunn