Venue: Joshua Brooks Where: Manchester Dream a Little Dream of Me written and directed by Rebecca Towner is a play and subject matter that has a lot of potential, sadly too many false starts mean the play never really gets out of the gate.
Danny and Juliet are in a relationship that has ground to a halt, an accident leading to the death of their unborn child has completely taken over Juliet who’s mood swings and worrying behaviour lead Danny to start to finding a way back in to the real world via Claire, a former class mate who always had a bit of a thing for him. The closer he gets to Claire the more unstable Juliet becomes.
The problem with this piece is that it should be a play dealing with the effects of loss, moving on from tragedy but sadly never really gives you much of an insight into anyone involved. Whilst it does have some wonderful moments and rich dialogue at times, it’s too little to really draw you in to the very simple story, and therein lays the other problem. The subject matter has been done many times before and even the final twist in the play seems a little too familiar to make much of an impact. Some clunky direction with actors standing behind the audience during large sections of dialogue do not help proceedings along either.
The cast however are fantastic with all three performers elevating the material to hold your interest. Charlotte Dalton as Juliet is quietly menacing and unhinged without playing up to normal stereotypes, though it’s a shame she did not have more to work with. Zara Denneny as Claire brings charm and humour to her role, but it’s Christopher Faith who walks away with the show with his performance of Danny. The conflict, regret and sadness come through every moment he’s on the stage. It’s a passionate performance with heart and honesty where his small gestures say as much as the dialogue itself.
Dream a Little Dream of Me is not a terrible play, it’s perfectly enjoyable and moves along at a brisk pace and shows that Towner has potential as a writer. Sadly it offers nothing new to the subject matter and winds up feeling a little more like a work in progress than a finished piece.