Review by Emma Whitelaw
ALL IS not lost as the wrinkles set in and the bones begin to
creak. Love; my dear friends, conquers all – including old
Noelle Chatelet’s one-woman show, The Colour of
Poppies, currently showing at the Jermyn Street
Theatre, is living proof that you can never be too old
for the heart-rendering emotions of a fairytale romance.
Faith Brook is tremendous as the lovable Marthe. Now 75, she
is a woman with a heart of gold.
Having spent the best years of her life raising her children
while married to a surly grump of a man, she more than deserves
to find blissful happiness in her final years.
Enter Monsieur Des Cravates, aka Felix, the man who literally
brings Marthe back to life.
After numerous flirtations from across a roomful of coffee drinkers
at the Three Musketeers Brasserie, Felix finally approaches her
and invites her for their first of many rendezvous’.
It is all incredibly romantic! Felix wines and dines the aging
beauty and he manages to stir up all sorts of feelings inside
Marthe that she has never felt before. Their first date is a visit
to the opera, The Barber of Seville.
In all her years, Marthe has never
been to an opera, and she cannot believe her eyes or ears. It
is an explosion of emotions and, by the end of the show, she is
left sweating and gasping for breath.
Never before has she felt so many sensations in such a short
space of time.
It is all a bit much for the adorable grandmother and she becomes
concerned for her physical health. She visits her doctor, who
diagnoses her with an extreme case of love.
The Colour of Poppies is incredibly well written, with
captivating and comical dialogue. At times, the audience was in
stitches with the delectable one-liners.
It is so lovely that Marthe, at the ripe old age of 75, is feeling
what most of us felt at 17! She is truly a delightful character.
The use of colour throughout the play was also extremely well
done. Red, the colour of poppies, was used as a recurring image.
Symbolising passion; not only the passion of love, but that of
Red featured in the light, set and costume design and was very
The entire story is immensely heartwarming. Marthe is an inspiration
to us all. One can only hope to feel as life-lovingly lively at
The Colour of Poppies by Noelle Chatelet, translated
by John CQ Roberts. Directed by Yann Le Gouic de Kerveno. Starring
Faith Brook. 28th June – 17th July 2004 at the Jermyn Street
Theatre, 16b Jermyn Street, London SW1. Box Office 020 7287 2875.
Photo by Marilyn Kingwill