Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune

Northern Stage – until 2 June 2018

Reviewed by Andrew Harrison

3***

Frankie and Johnny are both single, have been on a date and ended up at Frankie’s New York Apartment, which is where we get our first glimpse of them, through the sounds we can hear we are left under no illusions as to how this night has ended up so far. Both are in their 40’s, even though it takes them a while to admit to it and have a number of failed relationships behind them. Johnny is a cook and Frankie a waitress, over the next 2 hours we take a tender and intimate look at why it would or wouldn’t work for this couple to take this one night further.

An intimate space has been created in Stage 1 for this production, the audience facing each other, on the main stage, with the New York apartment set between them. Initially watching through net curtains, it gives you the sense you are in the apartment across looking out of your window and watching what the neighbours are up to, something Frankie obviously does regularly.

Richard Blackwood as Johnny is an unnerving character to watch, he plays it with slight insecurities of what might happen, but also a strength and confidence, which comes out when he refuses to leave the apartment. Ruth Everett as Frankie is engaging throughout with a vulnerability making you warm much more to her character than Johnny.

It does feel dated, as director Mark Calvert keeps it in its original time of mid 1980s, bringing it up to date may have given it fresher feel, but this is still a slick and well-paced production.

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