Photo by Simon Annand
It's quite tricky to describe the play without giving the game away, but it centres on an elderly composer attempting to capture inspiration, and fulfil his early promise, by isolating himself from his personal relationships. His secluded existence is disrupted by a younger, female visitor seeking reconciliation but who instead brings with her the clanging dissonance of recriminations and regret. The guilt-infused defensiveness of both characters as they bait each other catalyses the physically and psychologically devastating fallout addressed in the second half of the play. It is not cheerful stuff, but the two leads, Michelle Gomez and David Hargreaves, deftly and tenderly interpret it.
Conor Lineham's haunting score is brought to life in the evocative surroundings of Wilton's, the music introducing the second act being a particular spine-tingling highlight. I know that us Londonist folk love to preach the virtues of Wilton's Music Hall, but the decrepit intimacy of the space - you will often catch the delicious scent of Hargreave's cigar, for instance - combined with Giles Cadle's staging powerfully enhances the intensifying, smothering claustrophobia of the boxed-in world the characters inhabit. In a nutshell, this production is an absolute treat, catch it before it finishes its run on 10th January.
The Cordelia Dream, until Saturday 10th January, Wilton's Music Hall, Graces Alley off Ensign Street, E1, tickets are £20 each, £15 for the over 60s.