390 Jun 2007
Dominic Cavendish looks forward to watching John Simm in ‘Elling’ at Trafalgar Studios, London
At last, after a fallow period for commercial hits, the tiny Bush theatre in west London is making its presence felt in the centre of town. Earlier this year, the stellar presence of Richard Wilson in the parliamentary satire Whipping It Up ensured a West End run. And now relief is at hand again from the rising flood of musicals with the English stage adaptation of the Norwegian hit novel/play/film Elling, which is transferring to the Trafalgar Studios.
John Simm could probably draw a crowd just to watch him perform sentry-duty, so high is his stock after Life on Mars, but he flexes his acting muscles to the full in the tragicomic title role.
In this Oslo variant on The Odd Couple, scripted by Simon Bent, Elling is the uptight, agoraphobic flatmate of a sex-obsessed 40 year-old-virgin, both of them former inmates of a mental asylum.
Thanks to Simm and co-star Adrian Bower’s high-definition characterisations, these sad saps sear themselves into your affections, their final redemption leaving you in a state of giddy euphoria. You’d be advised to book, sharpish.