What’s the point of an extra marital affair? Roger Piper is about to find out. He’s an ad man and new father who’s mid-life crisis leads him astray, but it’s not all plain sailing as he finds out in Our Song.
He’s tempted by the dizzy Angie, who’s young enough to be his daughter, complete with large overdraft and tendency towards malapropisms, he pays off her bills and corrects her English, while his long suffering wife is aware of, but tolerates his dalliance- sound like a cliché? Well it is rather.
Roger and Angie’s liaison is slow to ignite and he admits that, during the consummation of their affair, he felt rather like “a parent at a pop concert”- a bit out of place. But almost as soon as the post coital cigarette has been stubbed out, the excitement has vanished to be replaced by jealous paranoia and Piper realises two women means twice the trouble.
As Roger and Angie Peter Bowles and Charlotte Emmerson are extremely accomplished and watchable, but you never quite believe there is a sexual spark. Tim Goodchild’s neutral set comprises two overlapping playing spaces and is bordered with the champagne bottles that litter the 16 month affair.
For me, the main problem is Keith Waterhouse’s dated script. This is a play set very firmly in the 1980s and without any specific references the sense is of a time of overwhelming materialism in which the place you eat and what you buy is all-important. Indeed, Piper measures his love for Angie in champagne, cars, lunches and cash and sees her very much as a rentable commodity. What is rather disturbing is that Waterhouse seems to endorse this theory with the presence of Angie’s chirpy call girl flat mate and Piper’s view at the end of women as something to be ‘unlocked’ by men.
Despite strong performances all round and some amusing moments Our Song turns out to be a rather predictable affair.
- Hannah Khalil (reviewed at the Richmond Theatre)