Currently showing at Southwark Playhouse

Kander & Ebbs The Rink has been brilliantly revived and brought to life again after nearly 20 years. Making its debut in 1984  on Broadway and last in the West End in 1988. Here we were to see Gemma Sutton and Caroline O’Connor lead us through an emotive journey based around the family ice rink that is to be sold.

The story follows Anna an Italian mother who is to sell the family ice rink after years of neglect, keen to make a fresh start only to have her daughter Angel return after being away and decide she wants to save the rink, which leads to an emotive story of memories and exploring the relationship between each other and themselves.

Will the rink be sold? Will Angel be able to patch things up with her Mamma? Read on..

I have to admit that this review is late and the show only has a week to go in its run however still felt the need to tell you our thoughts and we hope for a more permanent transfer to a larger theatre once this has finished as it would be well deserved.

Caroline O’Connor stars in this show alongside Gemma Sutton. Both equally as good as each other and cast brilliantly as Mother and Daughter.

The story is set when Anna (Caroline O’Connor) is about to hand over the rink to the demolition men to do what they wish with the place, having already signed it away. Only for her daughter to arrive after a gap of seven years. Finding out that her mum is to sell the rink we are brought on a journey of flashbacks and scenes that bring emotion out of them true to a fault.

Reminiscing about Anna’s father, how he met her mother and found the whole responsibility of the rink and family life too much and leaving them, to seeing Gemma Sutton change between the adult she is to a child version in flashbacks. Her vulnerability and change of character beautiful and well managed. To Caroline O’Connor remembering the old days on the boardwalk, her humour and attitude just brilliant. To the right here and now finding out that Angel herself is a mother. We see a bridging and understanding of each other’s character and towards one another’s feelings as the play goes on. A fragile relationship brought together by the end.

O’Connor’s vocals set us alight from the offset and in the song ”Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” she earns a loud applause that the whole theatre participated in and this continued throughout the show. ”Under the rollercoaster”, ”what happened to the old days” and ”the apple doesn’t fall from the tree” were other standout songs.

The ensemble cast are brilliant too, from starting out as the demolition men, they then take on many other parts from a young husband, love interest and friends  – many in flashback scenes the changing of characters is seamless and humorous in more than a few scenes!

This adaptation and revival certainly deserve more time on stage. O’Connor and Sutton pure beauty in their characters. If you can manage to get a ticket for the remaining performances somehow then I urge you to see it.