Beth Coridngley as Amy *
5 February 2010 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews It’s not often you get the chance to see a world premiere and Salt by Fiona Peek at the Royal Exchange Studio theatre is a very special one. For it is one of four entries in the Bruntwood Playwriting competition which beat 1,000 other would-be winners to come joint first. Peek’s play about two couples who regularly dine together in a plush London basement kitchen, is so well regarded that it has been given a run of over two weeks. Amy and Simon ( Beth Cordingley and Simon Chadwick) have the children and cash that Nick and Rachel ( Kevin Harvey and Esther Hall) long for but as we follow their interactions during five dinner parties, emotions come to the surface and their friendship is strained by a supposed act of kindness. Cordingley and Chadwick portray well two thirty-somethings who have achieved everything they want in life. Their satisfaction chaffs like salt on Harvey and Hall's portrayal of a couple whose dreams are not realised. Despite its quality of purity, the condiment in the title, only rubs salt on their wounds as the atmosphere reaches boiling point. Tensions climax on Christmas day when Simon literally turns the table on his friends in a burst of anger that is a tribute to his acting skills. Many of the scenes have an impressive quality about them as the cast set tables and produce meals with such ease that they make you hungry especially Nick’s Spicy Paella, the recipe for which is contained in the programme. Thanks to Richard Owen and Gerry Marsden's lighting and sound, the technical aspects have improved tremendously since I last attended the studio theatre and I must also congratulate Ben Stones on his excellen set design which includes a kitchen with oven and modern gadgets. My only reservation is that the conversation between these middle class, arty people, who enjoy three bottles of wine at one sitting, does not inspire very much. Nevertheless, Fiona Peek gets to the core of her characters and that, I believe, is why she won. - Julia Taylor (* picture by Jonathan Keenan) Related Content
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