Age Is A Feeling
Age Is A Feeling
at the Soho Theatre, London
“Clever. Brash. Funny … Heartfelt?”
I have been to the buzzing Soho Theatre so many times over the years. I’ve been to a wide variety of events - from an intimate evening with Cybill Shepherd (if you don’t know who she is I will simply sigh and point you to the internet…), to a meeting of the local branch of Equity (the actors’ union). The theatre is cocooned in the heart of London’s West End and is apparently always brimming with activity, stuffed with people who always seem upbeat and confident in the knowledge in that they know what they want from a theatrical event, they expect to receive it, and, when, having gorged on the show, leave fulfilled.
Age Is A Feeling gives them exactly what they paid for. It’s witty, it’s poignant, it’s short. Seventy minutes of humour and pith. It hits the mark, does its job, makes them laugh, makes them weep.
Does it make them think, though? Is this monologue simply entertainment or is it deeper?
Haley McGee performs with a surety of a seasoned pro, taking her time, confident. Her story tells the tale of a woman - it could be you! - with a degree of accuracy that leaves the audience spellbound. How does she know?!? Taking the minutiae of life she takes us through the decades from a 25-year-old to death. Up and down her ladder, she’s like a master puppeteer, tugging on strings, leading us down alleyways of merriment and, sometimes, sadness.
There are twelve specific stories, themed for all to see on cards. Three times she offers these cards to the audience and half are removed - the cards, not the audience! We never hear those rejected stories, partly because there isn’t enough time and, more prosaically, because no-one really knows everything about you. There are some stories that go untold. That’s a lovely touch, until, after the bows at the end, in true Brechtian-fashion, she announces the ‘lost’ six stories are available in the script which is on sale in the foyer! Clever, brash, funny. The show is on a par with the salesmanship! And that’s the point I pause and wonder - is there a little too much thinking in this show and not enough heart? Do I leave thinking about the futility or beauty of life? Or should I tap my card on the reader and make sure I buy the script? - ‘Ooh, she has a book, too!’ … Perhaps I’m being overly-cynical.
Maybe you could go another night and watch her again. The randomness of the story-picking will mean there are many different versions of the show on offer. Even Haley has no inkling what the evening will be until the themes are chosen. Clever. Brash. Funny … Heartfelt?
Photography Erin Hopkins
Writer/Performer Haley McGee
Producer Soho Theatre
Director/Dramaturg Adam Brace
Scenic Designer Zoë Hurwitz
Lighting Designer Daniel Carter-Brennan
Running Time 70 minutes (no interval)
Dates until Saturday 11th March 2023
Venue Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE
Tickets From £23 via www.sohotheatre.com/shows/age-is-a-feeling
Or by phone on 020 7478 0100
Age Guidance 16+
Social Media @yeshaleymcgee, @sohotheatre, #ageisafeeling