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Passionate Colour of Poppies – Proof that you can never be too old



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 age!

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 jealousy, too.

Red featured in the light, set and costume design and was very imaginatively done.

The entire story is immensely heartwarming. Marthe is an inspiration to us all. One can only hope to feel as life-lovingly lively at her age!

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

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