duet grand 

Belinda Lang as Stephanie Abrahams and Jonathan Coy as Dr Feldman. Picture: Robert Day

Duet for One

Wolverhampton Grand


The audience are greeted by an open set depicting a traditionally furnished office with shelves loaded with books, CDs and records, a desk and chair, couch and armchair.

With no play synopsis or programme available, there is no indication as to the occupant of this spacious room with its high ceiling and period architectural features.

As the play begins a male character enters and begins to adjust the furniture, a doorbell rings, the man leaves and returns with a woman in an electric wheelchair.  During the next few minutes we discover that this is the office of German psychiatrist Dr Feldman (Jonathan Coy) and his client is concert violinist Stephanie Abrahams (Belinda Lang).

Having been forced to give up playing the violin due to the debilitating condition multiple sclerosis, Stephanie, who insists on using her maiden name, has been encouraged to seek help for depression by her composer husband.

Initially dismissive of her need for therapy Stephanie is forced to face some emotional and difficult truths as Dr Feldman allows her to garrulously ramble on with only the occasional probing question and interjection. 

Other than a couple of  less than convincing falls, Belinda Lang’s acting is simply superb. With huge chunks of dialogue, rapid costume changes and well judged characterisation we are taken through the plethora of emotions experienced by a woman on the brink of suicide.  

As she contemplates the loss of her one true love – the violin, and the difficulty of adapting her lifestyle due to her deteriorating health and physical ability, she is compelled to reflect on her childhood, marriage and relationships; challenging her beliefs in the process.

Jonathan Coy as the formal Dr Feldman is outstanding. With much less dialogue, he masters the silences and observatory attitude perfectly. (This in itself is a particularly difficult skill to acquire)

Although the play addresses some dark and difficult issues, the writer, Tom Kempinski, manages to add humour and lightness to the piece without detracting from the weighty nature of the subject matter.

Beautifully directed by Robin Lefevre, this production is most likely to appeal to the more serious and experienced theatre goer, as it takes some concentration and a lot of listening on the part of the audience. A Duet for One is powerful, funny, moving and thought provoking and well worth seeing. To 06-10-18

Rosemary Manjunath and Elizabeth Smith


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