Book 75 – Elling

Book – Elling
Author – Simon Bent
Year – 2007
Genre – Play
Lent to me by James Sheppard

As I slightly tardily roll in to the three quarter mark of my challenge, it is another play that I have set my sights upon.  I start rehearsals tonight for Of Mice And Men in which I have been cast as Lennie, and so a play lent to me by James, a theatre designer playing my opposite number of George, seemed quite appropriate.

Based upon an Oscar nominated film, which in turn was based upon a novel, Elling tells the story of two Norweigan men who are set up in a house of their own in Oslo having just left an asylum.  The play follows their attempts to readjust to normal society and meet new people.  After a start where I was fully expecting some GCSE like shenannigans involving one character being ‘the inner subconcious voice of the other’ or somesuch nonsense, it actually evolved into a clever little play with some very nice interactions, and left its quota of theatrical cliches at a couple of split scene flashbacks which look to fit very well indeed.

The massive problem with Elling however, is that it is very much a play to be watched and not to be read.  The rapidfire dialogue and merging of places in the text makes reading it very confusing, and a not always entirely pleasent experience.  However in looking beyond that, it strikes me as a play that would work beautifully on stage – indeed a Broadway version starring Brendon Frazer is currently rumoured – and all in all, rather worthwhile reading.

6/10

For James’ website click here.
For Daods website – featuring Of Mice and Men in February – click here (the plugs begin!)

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