Written and Directed by Shaun Kitchener
Pros: Great atmosphere with laugh out loud moments thanks to some fantastic writing.
Cons: Some of the dialogue was lost on delivery leading to some awkward and polite audience laughter.
Our Verdict: Makes for an enjoyable evening in the cozy environment created by the White Bear Theatre.
|Courtesy West Avenue Theatre
Walking into the theatre you could be forgiven for thinking you’d made a complete idiot of yourself and accidentally walked into a storage room. Boxes are stacked around the room, filled to the brim with ripped up newspaper, while a small round table takes centre stage amongst the cardboard.
The play tells the story of Conor and Aimie – a couple who ended their relationship exactly a year and a week ago. The night before Conor jets off for warmer climates, Aimie returns his belongings in what will be their first meeting since splitting up. It would seem that fate and the fantastic British weather have plans for the couple however, and the storm to end all storms leaves Conor and Aimie stuck alone together trying to figure out a way to diffuse the tension and pass the time until one can escape.
The set is simple yet effective – everything Conor owns has been packed up ready for his big move abroad with just the dining table left on display. The sound effects of booming thunder and flickering lights create the impression of a raging storm just outside the theatre doors, as do the two characters drenched from head to toe in water upon entering from ‘outside’.
Natalie Lester and Edward McLean perfectly capture the sheer awkwardness that comes from meeting your ex-lover for the first time after a break up. No matter how long it’s been its always awkward. As a member of the audience I felt that I was in some away invading the couple’s privacy and would often find myself wincing when a character blurted something out that was clearly just going to make the tension in the room rise to near unbearable proportions. Some comments made me shrink back in my seat while others had me guffawing out loud with sheer disbelief – I even heard my neighbour exclaim, “did he really just say that?!”. When the two start playing drinking games to pass the time, you realise the night will probably take a steep nosedive and you would be right. Past emotions are brought to the surface with Aimie admitting the reason for the breakup and both becoming honest about their feelings towards one another. The play does not end as one might expect, but this again adds to the realistic feeling that permeates through the entire performance.
The script was very well written and the majority of jokes hit their mark, being both well timed and well executed by both actors. Some were lost on the delivery with the audience still laughing at something that was said previously, and I must admit I missed a few lines several times throughout as the actors carried on with the script despite ongoing laughter causing the next joke to fall flat. The pace is quick and the hour long performance seems to fly by; with a little more work on the comic timing, this show could be something very good indeed.
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It Never Rains runs at the White Bear Theatre until 21st April 2013.
Box Office: 020 7793 9193 or book online at http://www.whitebeartheatre.co.uk/productions/