The Pain of Being Alone

“Here is the metaphorical chariot race Ben Hur would have chickened out of “

George Falconer on the LA traffic

Theo Fraser Steele as George (Photo: MItzi de Margery)

George Falconer (Theo Fraser Steele) is an Englishman living in California whose partner Jim died in a car accident several months ago.  The play is set in California and the first act sees George, bereft, going through the motions of his life now without reason for living.

The novel was written by Christopher Isherwood who wrote Goodbye to Berlin the book, the musical and film Cabaret was based on. 

The director Philip Wilson casts people, in paramedic white uniforms, to help George get out of bed and get dressed.  The sound scape is jazz and those scary, screechy noises found in Hitchcock films. We meet George’s neighbour Mrs Strunk (Phoebe Pryce) and hear children at play. 

Miles Molan as Jim, Phoebe Pryce as Maria, Theo Fraser Steele as George, Olivia Darnley as Charley, Freddie Gaminara (Photo: Mitzi de Margary)

George goes to the college where he lectures to a group of students about English Literature.  The novel he has asked them to read is Aldous Huxley’s After Many A Summer Dies the Swan about a man seeking eternal life.  George asks if any of them have looked at the origins of Huxley’s “Swan”, the Greek Myth of the Trojan prince Tithonus who was granted eternal life but not eternal youth.  These themes tie up with George’s lack of desire to continue living. 

Act Two opens with George accepting Charley (Olivia Darnley)’s invitation to dinner.  She shares that she is also alone after her 19 year old son has left.  George is dwelling on Jim.  His funeral was organised by Jim’s family but they did extend an invitation to George which he refused.  He says, “I betrayed you Jim.  I betrayed our life together.”

Theo Fraser Steele as George and Miles Molan as Jim (Photo: Mitzi de Margary)

I found George’s mire of self pity very hard to relate to or to care about. “Drooling masochism” is how he describes it. Perhaps it is the absence of any humour and his difficulty in relating to anyone else?  I also have no nostalgia for either the novel or the film having read and seen neither. 

George is pursued quite openly by one of his students Kenny, played by Miles Molan in his first professional role.  Kenny is of course a lot younger than George but maybe in 1962 people were less bothered about the power balance of lecturer and young student.  Miles Molan also plays Jim in scenes from the past.  

As I found it difficult to relate to George I found I also couldn’t care about what happens to him.  After the show I saw Theo Fraser Steele wearing his round rimmed spectacles and thought how much more attractive he was in those than the heavy black rectangles worn in the 1960s.

Theo Fraser Steele as George and Olivia Darnley as Charley (Photo: Mitzi de Margary)

Production Notes

A Single Man

based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood

Adapted by Simon Reade

Directed by Philip Wilson



Freddie Gaminara

Olivia Darnley

Phoebe Pryce

Theo Fraser Steele

Miles Molan


Director: Philip Wilson

Designer: Caitlin Abbott

Movement: Natasha Harrison

Lighting Designer: Peter Harrison

Sound Designer and Composer: Beth Duke


Running Time: Two  hours 05 minutes including an interval

Booking to 26th November 2022



The Park Theatre

Park 200

Clifton Terrace
Finsbury Park

London N4 3JP

Phone020 7870 6876


Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge

at the Park Theatre 

on 21st October  2022