BWW Reviews: MAN TO MAN, Park Theatre, November 6 2014

BWW Reviews: MAN TO MAN, Park Theatre, November 6 2014

Man to Man by Manfred Karge was first performed in 1982 and catapulted Tilda Swinton to fame when she starred in the 1987 production. Written before the destruction of the Berlin Wall, it is apt that it should be performed now given that it is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. Set in Germany through the 1920s and 30s, it tells the story of Ella Gericke, a German woman who takes on her husband's identity after he dies, becoming known as Max Gericke.

Tricia Kelly portrays Ella/Max and perfectly captures the desperation she feels to survive in the face of a huge economic decline that Germany faces. Taking on the role of her husband allows her to continue working as a crane operator in order to keep money coming in. She struggles intermittently throughout the time she takes on the male role, expressing her anguish as she reveals her wish to have a child, something that is no longer possible while she continues to be Max. Her evenings consist of beer, male bonding and schnapps, which she guzzles while swaggering around on stage.

The small setting of the Park90 is perfect for a production such as this, the audience are right there with Kelly as the lines between who Ella was and who she is now portraying become so blurred that she realises that she may never be able to revert to just being Ella. As the sole cast member, Kelly has to keep the audience captivated throughout, which she does with her raw portrayal of a woman struggling to survive in Nazi Germany. She lives in constant fear, worried that if she is called up to fight in the war her secret will be discovered when she is forced to have a medical examination.

This play will definitely leave you feeling emotionally drained and Kelly's charged performance will have the audience members riveted to their seats.

Photo Credit: Mike Kwasniak

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From This Author Laura Jones

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