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Review of Daytona at Theatre Royal Haymarket

Daytona at Theatre Royal HaymarketOn Tuesday afternoon I went along to London’s west end and saw a musical, it was great fun and informative, but most of all it was highly enjoyable light entertainment that sent me away with a spring in my step.

Then in the evening I found myself in The Theatre Royal Haymarket watching Oliver Cotton’s new play ‘Daytona’ a thought-provoking play deeply charged with human emotions, and came away asking myself these questions:
1) When would it ever be acceptable for one person to kill another?
2) Could I ever have an affair with my brother’s wife?
3) If my brother killed another man, would I tell him to go to the police and give himself up? Or would I provide him with shelter?

The year is 1986 and we are in the Brooklyn apartment of a likeable couple enjoying their senior years and their joint love for ballroom-dancing, then out of the blue they find their easy going day-to-day lifestyle interrupted when Joe’s brother Billy arrives while Elli is out collecting a special made dress for a forthcoming ballroom dancing competition.

Joe doesn’t like the fact that Billy has just turned up out of the blue, after not seeing or hearing from him in over 30 years, he likes it even less when his 82-year-old brother tells him that he has just shot dead the Nazi prison officer that they suffered under many years previously in a concentration camp for Jews. Joe wants nothing to do with this and urges Billy to give himself up to the police.

The second half revolves mainly around the relationship that Elli once had with Billy throughout the earlier years of her marriage to Joe. And answers the question as to why Billy vanished all those years ago. It seems that the love they had for each other has never died, and so Elli’s life wasn’t so cosy after all.

Personally I thought the play was too long winded, the monologues were too long and some were irrelevant to the plot. This show does not have a feel good factor about it and it will not send you away with a spring in your step. But if you want to see excellent acting then get along to the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Maureen Lipman gives a memorable performance as Elli, along with Harry Shearer as Joe and Oliver Cotton as Billy.

Review By Johnny Tait

Theatre Royal Haymarket
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm
Booking to 23rd August 2014


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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