Friendship comes in many forms but one particular friendship between Elling, an incredibly intelligent and exceptionally anxious poet and Kjell, a randy, hot dog-craving 40-year-old virgin may raise more than a few eyebrows. Forced into an institution after his dear mother’s death, Elling finds solace in Kjell’s company and an unlikely bond develops between the pair.
Two years later, in a test of their capability to lead an unsupervised life, the Norwegian government provides the friends with their own flat in Central Oslo. Thrust into this new way of life, Elling and Kjell stumble awkwardly into normality, dragging with them a lifetime of uncertainty and pent up desire.
Based on a novel by Ingvar Ambjørnsen and later transformed into an award-winning cult film, Pamela Rabe returns to the Melbourne Theatre Company (for the fortieth time!) to direct Simon Bent’s adaptation of Elling. Produced specifically for the Melbourne stage, Darren Gilshenan brings a persistent apprehension to his faultless performance of Elling, contrasting with the (equally fantastic) arse crack flaunting absurdity of Hayden Spencer as Kjell. In this journey of self-discovery, lighting designer Matt Scott highlights moments of loneliness, hilarity and destruction in a way that compliments the chaotic charm of the piece.
Elling is a laugh-out-loud funny tale of two people that can barely look after themselves, looking after each other. A compelling story of love, loss and above all, friendship (not to mention, a handy lesson in how to use a telephone), Elling is sure to warm even the coldest of hearts.