Frankie & Johnny In The Clair De Lune – New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich

Its 3am in the morning and two middle aged work colleagues have stumbled into bed together in a small, cramped New York apartment. Diner cook Johnny has fallen in love with waitress Frankie but she is more cautious, not even sure she wants to see him again. As dawn slowly breaks will their love blossom or will the cold light of a Manhattan dawn kill any chance of happiness?

So follows the premise of Terrence McNally’s Frankie & Johnny in the Clair De Lune (the latter part of the title dropped for the screen adaptation), just arrived at the New Wolsey as part of a major national tour by Middle Ground Theatre Company.

In what has been headline-grabbing casting, Hollywood actress Kelly McGillis, famous for her roles in Top Gun and Rolf Saxon (Mission Impossible and Entrapment) battle their way through the early hours pillow talk. Headlines helped by the extensive nudity at the start of the show – no Graduate half light here!

It says much about the skills of both actors that any film credits are forgotten as they create beautifully detailed and believable characters. The chemistry between both is evident throughout, making the burgeoning relationship totally believable.

Director Michael Lunney directs with pace and utilises every inch of his evocative and detailed set.

Some of the New York specific comedy may be lost on a UK audience and perhaps the second act lacks some of the pace of the first but this is still a wonderful examination of the early stages of romance. Not one for the children with full frontal nudity and ‘adult’ language but for those willing to spend the night a heart-warming evening.

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