Posted 17 November 2013 - 02:50 AM
In the end, I found this alright. It’s a nice two act play. Shame about Act One. Act One made me think of Larkin and Playboy of the Western World. Yesterday I tidied my room, which was not fun but was rewarding. Watching Jessica Raine do it was neither fun nor rewarding. The accents located it as Australia with some Irish. There’s only so much watching the washing up or talking about electricity bills I can hear before it loses its meaning. It seemed to last four hours.
Then we get to Act Two and it’s like it’s a different play. Suddenly Wesker makes his points about roots and escaping family well. The dialogue works as a debate whilst being recognisable. And more importantly, Linda Bassett! It’s such a wonderful performance. The bit where they empty the bath water – yet another bloody mundanity – set to classical music was a lovely mingling of the two cultures. Act Three laid it on thick, but Act Two, mainly because it was just them, was very nice. Having family a bit like Bassett’s character, I recognised the language (there goes that specific bus – family actually say that). The accents (vaguely) settled. It was such a step up and frankly I wish it was a one act two hander. Then we get to Act Three and it’s heavy handed, but I enjoyed spending time with the characters. Thematically it says what it said in Act Two but louder, but they were pleasant company or, at least, there was a nice balance between Bassett’s worldliness and Raine’s pretentiousness. Also, given that the idea that going away can change someone so that former close friends and family are no longer that close affects most people, it should have touched a nerve in a way it never did. It was fine.
So, a bit heavy handed, a bit obvious, themes I’ve seen before (in fact, in trying to escape drab Northern roots by improving one’s mind, themes Bennett staged wonderfully in Cocktail Sticks – wonderfully and in only 45 minutes) and unremarkable. Overall, not bad, almost ‘good’.