MY BRAVE FACE
This one-man show is devised and performed by the Rondo’s Artistic Director, Ian McGlynn. No problem getting the management to book this show, then. But you needn’t worry; any theatre would book this one. This is a powerful look at what happens to a man when a 25-year marriage ends. How does he cope? Does he cope? McGlynn’s performance doesn’t pull punches when it comes to digging out the distress and confusion of the suddenly alone male; but cleverly balances emotional torment with humour so that this does not just degenerate into some relentless sob story. The plot centres around dating, a thing Tom the protagonist hasn’t done for decades, and is not accustomed to the modern hi-tech ways of doing it. There are portrayed some excruciatingly disastrous attempts at meeting a potential mate, which are milked for every possible comic effect, in each case McGlynn playing both participants with wicked accuracy. And there are some major laughs, make no mistake. But he never lets the comedy overwhelm sympathy for the hero’s predicament, nor shies away from the reality of his suffering. The show is something of a roller-coaster, that grabs the attention from the outset: it starts with a bang, and ends with, well, not a whimper, but not quite the cliché’d ending you might expect. And although Tom falters, McGlynn’s finely-balanced portrayal of him does not, and is never less than utterly absorbing. Bravura stuff.
John Christopher Wood