Frank And Percy ★★★★ The Other Palace | Sep 8 - Dec 17, 2023

Take two of Britain's outstanding actors. Put them in a funny and heartwarming comedy from playwright, Ben Weatherill. Let two hours fly by, and you have an incomparable evening in the theatre. Frank And Percy proves to be a delightful confection laced with moments of both wit and sentiment, and it is beautifully served up by the extraordinary Sir Ian McKellen and Roger Allam. In a series of brief scenes, we trace the relationship of two elderly dog owners who meet while walking their pets on Hampstead Heath. McKellen's Percy is sharp and opinionated, while Allam's Frank is gentle and more uncertain. Their characters reflect their different life experiences, and for the most part, their relationship is not unduly sentimentalised. The challenges of two individuals from very different backgrounds who are trying to find connection and companionship is subtly drawn, and age is shown to offer neither invulnerability, nor additional insight, when it comes to affairs of the heart. It is refreshing to see elderly people and their emotions presented in a sympathetic, but realistic, light. And, both McKellen and Allam do splendid jobs of conveying the individuality and universality of Frank and Percy's experience. The performances are carefully nuanced with every facial expression and gesture being used to build the characters. Unfortunately, some of the humour, such as the Pride march preparations and Karaoke scene, seems overly broad, almost running counter to these carefully wrought characterisations. Such caveats aside however, Frank And Percy proves to be a delectable theatrical experience that will continue to be savoured long after its initial viewing.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Jack Merriman

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