The Old Vic’s artistic director lured Jeff Goldblum back to the London boards for its revival of Neil Simon’s 1971 black comedy The Prisoner of Second Avenue at the Vaudeville Theatre from June to September in 2010. The actor made his London debut two years earlier when he co-starred with old friend Spacey at the Old Vic in David Mamet’s Speed the Plow.
The plot revolves around the escalating problems of Mel and Edna Edison, living on Second Avenue on the Upper East side of Manhattan in New York City. Mel has just lost his job, his air conditioning has broken, the city’s in the middle of a heat wave, his neighbours won’t shut up, the garbage collectors are striking and there are burglars on the prowl. It premiered at the Eugene O’Neill Theater on Broadway in 1971, winning three Tony’s, including Best Play and Best Director Mike Nicols.
In the 2010 London production, Edna was played by Oscar winner (The Fisher King) Mercedes Ruehl, in her London stage debut. She also won a Tony for Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers alongside Kevin Spacey.
Both Mercedes and Jeff were very friendly with the continual gathering of fans at the stage door, and signed my sketch after a July evening performance.