The Model Apartment is the brilliant black comedy from Donald Margulies, one of America’s most respected and renowned playwrights.
Max and Lola are two elderly Holocaust survivors, who in the early 1980s retire to Florida from Brooklyn. Trying to escape life’s stresses and strains, as well as their difficult daughter, their plan is to sit back and relax, but life turns dark very quickly.
Their deluxe condo is not yet ready, and they are asked to stay temporarily in a ‘model apartment’, where history begins to catch up with them in the most devastating way.
This extraordinary play is both challenging and relentless in its style. The claustrophobic and suffocating history of the parents has in turn crippled the emotional development of their child and the vulnerability of each character is brought into sharp focus.
Diana Quick (Lola) is superb in her grace and pain of bearing life’s brutal hand. The decision at the end is easy to second guess but the emotional toll significant. Ian Gelder (Max) is equally damaged and yet his need to escape far greater.
Emily Bruni (Debby / Deborah) is both vulnerable and terrifying as their daughter who seeks security and revenge. She is trapped in her own battles seeking love and acceptance in the guise of the hugely engaging Enyi Okoronkwo.
The brutality of the rapid dialogue is heart breaking and beautifully balanced under the precise direction Laurence Boswell capturing the endless cycle of harm and control hold each character in a whirlpool of past demons.
It is a challenging play and the journey is not easy but once again the Ustinov has produced an astonishing piece that will resonate with audiences for a long time.
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Reviewer: Petra Schofield
The Model Apartment is part of A Season of Contemporary American Drama at the Ustinov Studio in Bath.
The show is appearing at the Ustinov until Saturday 22nd December. For tickets, click here.