Originally premiered separately at the Edinburgh Festival in 2008 and this year, these two monologues written and performed by Stefan Golaszewski are now in a double bill at the Bush Theatre. First up, Stefan Golaszewski Speaks About A Girl He Once Loved goes back to the late nineties and follows an 18-year-old Stefan meeting a beautiful girl and spending just one amazing night on a date with her. Golaszewski is twinkly-eyed and endearing, and it makes for a very sweet story with a few sad moments but mostly a lot of laughs - at times it bordered on standup comedy. Incidentally, Golaszewski is the writer of Russell Tovey's new sitcom Young, Unemployed & Lazy which should be turning up sometime next year, so fingers crossed it should be good, at least now I know he can write a good gag.
Having gone into the past, after the interval we go into the future for Stefan Golaszewski is a Widower. In 2056 Stefan is 76 years old, and two years ago his wife died. Although there's moments of black comedy this is a much bleaker piece - at first we seem to be encountering what's left of a devoted old couple, but as he flashes back over their lives together we find out it's not so simple. This second play isn't anywhere near as effective as the first, largely because the picture Golaszewski paints of them in their prime isn't very sympathetic: They bitch about their friends behind their backs, and are constantly smug over Stefan's success (he spends 25 years as a camp sidekick on The Bill.) Performed on its own, it might have been an interesting look at how we react to tragedy striking people we don't necessarily empathise with; but coming straight after Girl, where the 18-year-old Stefan does display these judgemental qualities but balances them out with self-deprecation and likeability, Widower's harsh central characters are particularly jarring. Well worth seeing for the first play, but like so many sequels this one doesn't match up to the original.
The Stefan Golaszewski Plays by Stefan Golaszewski are booking until the 9th of January at the Bush Theatre.