Directed by Sasha Roberts
Pros: Interesting story about a well-known wartime poet, with some good performances.
Cons: The short length meant some aspects of the play seemed hurried and the interaction between characters a bit unnatural.
Out Verdict: An enjoyable and insightful show in a venue which was a joy to discover.
The great thing about London’s theatre scene is that even if you have been seeing several shows a
|Courtesy of Tea House Theatre|
month for several years, there will always be more to explore. Venues turn up in the most unexpected places, and I must admit that I was surprised to discover the Tea Room Theatre on the corner of a park, 1 min walk from Vauxhall station, next to a city farm (which I was equally surprised to discover there).
If you tried to find a more suitable venue for Forget Me Not, you would probably have some trouble. The Tea Room Theatre is a cosy venue filled with saucers, teapots, miss-matching armchairs, tables and stools. With black cloth over the windows, the room becomes a little venue with a pop- up feel. Nothing could be more appropriate for the setting of Forget and Not, which takes place during WWII, in a temporary office of a publishing company (whose actual premises have been damaged during the Blitz).
The play revolves around Captain Keith Douglas, a prodigious WWII poet who is trying desperately to get his work published before his inevitable (in his opinion) death during the war. He is faced with Miss Jesse, a young, independent woman working as the publisher’s assistant. Her job is to find out more about the young poet so the publishing house know what they are getting into, but in doing so she forces Douglas to take a long hard look at himself and his work… but this isn’t an easy process for her either.
Forget Me Not is a new play by Shane Burke. It is a short piece – just one act lasting about three quarters of an hour, but in that time much insight into the life and experiences of Keith Douglas come to light. Unfortunately, the short length also means the content sometimes feels a little rushed. There is a lot to cover in Keith’s biography, and the intrigue between Miss Jesse and the poet needs time to develop too – in the end the resolution of the play comes very suddenly. None the less, the story is engaging and well penned.
In terms of performances, this two-hander is played by a strong duo. Tom Worsley plays Douglas as a nervous and lonely man, who is visibly desperate to have his account of the war remembered. Unfortunately, because of the character’s desperation, Douglas does come across as a bit creepy in the way he deals with Miss Jesse, as he seems unnaturally keen to befriend her. This could be a consequence of the character’s loneliness, but it still makes it difficult for the audience to relate to him. Miss Jesse is played by Annabella Forbes. She is a strong woman who would rather work than have a family, although this causes trouble in her personal life. Forbes’ performance is a pleasure to watch, even though her character makes an unexpected u-turn at the end of the play, which was a little hard to swallow. All in all, even though some might claim the depiction of these wartime characters is a little cliché, the quality of acting and direction is very good.
To sum up, Forget Me Not is an enjoyable piece of new writing performed in a lovely, cosy venue which was a joy to discover. Although the length of the production meant some aspects of the play seemed hurried, watching Forget Me Not was a pleasant way to spend the evening.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
Forget Me Not runs at the Tea Room Theatre, Vauxhall until 26th July 2013
Box Office: 0207 207 4584 or book online at http://vpgsummerfestival.eventbrite.co.uk/