Review: Visiting Mr Green, Library Theatre

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The excellent Michael Bullock not only takes on the grumpy eponymous character but directs this American drama from Geoff Baron. Simon Warner completes the duet as Ross Gardiner, a young corporate executive who reluctantly visits Green as part of his community service.

Unsurprisingly, the first few meetings don’t exactly go swimmingly as the last person the Jewish octogenarian, Green, wants help from is the guy who almost knocked him down.

The revelation that Ross is Jewish too smoothes over the cracks and he even brings kosher food over. Who needs a rabbi or a shrink when Ross and Mr Green have each other?

Mr Green hides grief and loneliness behind extreme religious observance which has led to estrangement from his daughter and grandchildren for thirty years. Ross hasn’t fared much better, denying his homosexuality thanks to bigoted family members.

There is plenty of humour in addition to the poignancy and pathos. Mr Green is stereotypically thrifty. He never wastes good food and naturally won’t use two teabags when one does the job.

Conversely Ross is a high-flying spendthrift. He reconnects Mr Green’s phone, cleans his apartment and feeds him. His main investment is not financial but reconciliation however.

From the word go, Bullock is recognisable as a cranky, Jewish New York pensioner. His accent, mannerisms and turn of phrase are spot on. Warner struggles with the New York accent but is on good form as a kind and nurturing man who teaches the cantankerous Green to add a bit of flexibility to his repertoire.