In Rehearsal. Photo: Elyse Marks
8 March 2011 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Mike Bartlett’s play, jointly produced by Paines Plough and Plymouth’s Drum Theatre is set in; 1967, 1990 and 2011 with sets that are imaginatively different and symbolise their eras. The story follows a couple’s forty year journey from wild 60’s teenagers to retirement. Their ongoing relationship typifies the explosive changes in world philosophy in the 60s; through Thatcher’s ‘get rich quick’ years; and finally onto the inevitable breakdown of this high rolling couple as reality bites. This three act play is superbly performed by the five characters, cleverly highlighting the vast differences between the three periods.
The play starts in the summer of 1967 - Beatles songs, smoking cannabis, free love and no thought for the repercussions this new found lifestyle may have on the generation to follow. I feel this first act is far too long and slow moving. At half its present length it could approach the interest generated by the rest of the play.
Sandra, played passionately by
Lisa Jackson meets and seduces Kenneth, Ben Addis, the Oxford ‘layabout’ student brother of her boring boyfriend Henry Simon Darwen.
In the second act, set in 1990, the action at last takes off, hard hitting and fast paced. There is a plethora of plot divulged during sparkling action. Kenneth and wife Sandra are married with successful careers and two teenage children
Rosie Wyatt and James Barrett. They have, on the surface, a perfect lifestyle with the money to indulge all their fantasies and extravagant needs. Under this veneer however, enormous cracks are appearing with alcohol fuelled adultery on both sides.
By the third act the couple are divorced and finally, the chickens come home to roost on their selfish and child-spoiling middle years. The whole mood becomes more sombre and reflective as they both are blamed by their daughter for her empty and unfulfilled life.
This is food for thought, a powerful piece despite a slow start. Well worth seeing.
- by Veronica Crowley Related Content
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