Losing Louis

Opened 23 February 2005, Closed 25 June 2005 at the Trafalgar Studios in London

Interwoven events from the past and present blend together in this touching new comedy. Secrets that refuse to remain buried erupt as family members are brought together, after years of separation, to face it out in the bedroom - the place where all the confusion began.

This production of Losing Louis was originally seen at The Hampstead Theatre in January 2005. The cast features Lynda Bellingham and Alison Steadman with Anita Briem, Emma Cunliffe, Jason Durr, David Horovitch and Brian Protheroe. Losing Louis is by Simon Mendes da Costa and directed by Robin Lefèvre. Alison Steadman London stage credits include Shelagh Stephenson's comedy Memory of Water at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1999.

"Wills and funerals have attracted, let us say, a substantial body of work. To this tradition can be added a lovely nugget of a tragi-farce which opened this week with lots of Jewish laughs and some heartfelt sniffles... Mr da Costa gnaws away at notions of illegitimacy and religious identity. These could become tiresome but they are well balance by the comedy of manner and by some touching lines about the loss of a stillborn baby and the quiet agony of being a parent to a disabled child. If we can overlook a few needlessly coarse moments, Losing Louis is a delight." The Daily Mail

"This is only Simon Mendes da Costa's second staged play, but Losing Louis bristles with humour, intelligence and nifty technical expertise. It is witty, cruel and forgiving: a comedy of love, sex, death and being Jewish... At the end, everything is resolved and nothing is which suggests that da Costa understands how families survive unto death. Robin Lefevre's direction is expertly paced and ruthlessly observant, with the best kind of serious comedy acting: black, sparkling and hilarious." The Sunday Times

"After a string of disappointments, the Hampstead Theatre has at last come up with a winner. Simon Mendes da Costa's Losing Louis may have its flaws, but it provides the basis for a highly enjoyable evening; and the author - it is only his second staged play - is someone we are likely to hear a lot more of." The Sunday Telegraph

"Losing Louis is set in a flowery Fifties bedroom with a double bed and a wardrobe. Cue hankypanky and skeletons tumbling from the closet. Simon Mendes da Costa's new black comedy about sex, death, sibling rivalry and being a bit Jewish - or not - has the flavour and texture of underseasoned, insufficiently warmed-up leftovers of Alan Ayckbourn and Mike Leigh... Robin LeFevre's production needs sharpening up as well as restaging. The theatre's appalling sightlines need to be taken into consideration if those on the aisles, like me, are not going to be forced to imagine why the rest of the audience is tittering. Fortunately, you can't miss Alison Steadman reprising her Abigail's Party-piece. Poured into something clingy and plunging and wholly unsuitable for a funeral, she shrieks and squawks like a parrot stuck in a loop. Oxo mum Lynda Bellingham says the F-word (twice) and confesses to an extremely intimate piercing. There are also a couple of painfully funny moments. For the most part, however, the play remains stubbornly mediocre." The Mail on Sunday

Losing Louis in London at the Trafalgar Studios opened on 23 February 2005 and closed on 25 June 2005