The Prisoner of Second Avenue

After a scrumptious Jamaican burger (mango and ginger relish included) from the Gourmet Burger Kitchen near Covent Garden, Jo, Jo’s Aunt and Uncle, Sam and I headed to the Vaudeville theatre for the recently opened, “Prisoner of Second Avenue”.

The Prisoner of Second Avenue poster
The Prisoner of Second Avenue poster

We didn’t really know much about the play before deciding to go and see it, or even before we walked in. A black comedy starring Jeff Goldblum was enough to sway me and Jo, and Sam reluctantly came along for the ride - though she was glad she did. The play also starred the excellent Mercedes Ruehl, and was originally written by Neil Simon. There’s a Jack Lemmon film as well.

Before going in we were accosted by video interviewing hipsters from some new media company, they couldn’t have done their job that well because I can’t for the life of me remember the name of their website. But Jo’s Uncle kindly put down a comic interview for them.

With second row, royal circle seats we had a perfect view. And in a very hot, humid theatre, the play opened to a stuffy July night in New York, with Mel moaning about the heat…


Mel Edison (Jeff Goldblum) can’t sleep. In the heat of a New York City summer his air-conditioning has broken, his neighbours won’t shut-up, his job is hanging by a thread and there are a gang of burglars on the prowl. As things go from bad to worse, Mel heads for a meltdown and his loyal wife Edna (Mercedes Ruehl) is left to pick up the pieces.

I might add to that synopsis, it’s also hilarious. Because just reading that you might feel a little depressed, or end up having a nervous breakdown or something. Then you’d have to fork out for doctor’s fees.

Both characters were perfectly cast and once again the Old Vic has not disappointed. We can’t recommend enough that you go and see this, and indeed the majority of plays the Old Vic puts on.