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The Old Man and the Pool | Wyndham’s Theatre

Tonight was a very special night for me as I travelled to the theatre, but only not to watch a musical. You may ask, well Marcus, what did you see? I was able to witness the work of Mike Birbiglia, a comedian and storyteller, at his show The Old Man and the Pool. Though musicals and plays are what I am immediately drawn to when it comes to seeing live performances, it was good to experience another art form in this capacity.

The Old Man and the Pool comes to the West End after having sold-out performances in the U.S. Mike Birbiglia captivates the audience's attention through unique storytelling of the news received by doctors that he has inherited his family’s history of cardiac issues using flashbacks, visuals and funny one-liners. The charm that this show has allows the audience to be taken on this journey and gives them space to sympathise with Birbiglia, all while being able to laugh at Birbiglia’s witty humour.

Birbiglia was able to capture my attention for the duration of the show, whilst there were some jokes that did not sit well with me. The use of visual aids to enhance Birbiglia’s story was effective in adding much needed depth to what he was conveying to the audience. There was a theme of death that was an underlying factor in Birbiglia’s text that I wish was made more clear and talked more in a deeper and less “light” manner. Doing this, I believe, would have taken this show to the next level.

Birbiglia gives this story heart by incorporating his “thoughts” that he writes in his journal. Not only this, but he brings his wife and daughter into the story as well. Including these pieces incorporated a personal element to this piece of theatre and encouraged a positive outlook of finding the good in every situation, which was really uplifting.

The visuals made you feel like you were there in the same event, time, and place that Birbiglia was describing. The lighting choices made you feel the more serious points more deeply, but always giving the correct amount of necessary light to keep it fun. You could tell that Birbiglia and his creative team spent time discussing this and were intentional with the choices that they made.

If you are looking for new work that is fun, emotional, and heartwarming, then I recommend you give Birbiglia’s show a shot. I enjoyed myself, and would not be surprised if you did as well.

The Old Man and the Pool is currently playing at Wyndham's Theatre and will run until 7th October. You can get your tickets here.


{AD | gifted} Written by Marcus Collick


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