John: (seen at the afternoon performance on 31st January 2018). The
monkey was a huge admirer of previous play "The Flick." This is similar in pace
- "human" rather than "stage drama," so clocks are adjusted, doorbells go
unanswered and so on. Unlike "The Flick" though, this has far less to say, and
does so in even more longwinded fashion.
Elias (Tom Mothersdale) and Jenny (Anneika Rose) are both outstanding as a
couple on vacation. He is introvert and selfish, she addicted to scary stories
and mendacity. Their landlady Mertis (Marylouise Burke) is by turn sinister,
daffy and respectable. Blind friend Genevieve (June Watson) has presence but
sometimes seems superfluous. Oddly, while the younger characters - close to the
author's age - are well-drawn, if childish at times, the seniors are simple
caricatures. Even when dispensing aged wisdom, there is nothing of the young to
link back to.
Three hours twenty (including one 15 minute interval, and one 8 minute break
SPOILER ALERT for which you should not leave SPOILER ENDS) sometimes fly and
promise much - particularly the end of act one - other times seem flabby and
redundant (most of act two and a fair part of act three). Whereas "The Flick"
rewarded attention, the payoff here is nowhere near as impactful, felt the
monkey. There is no sudden insight based on what has gone before, and the
atmosphere generated it felt was proven irrelevant.
Worth seeing for the performances and excellent staging (sit centrally and
on the "low numbers" side in the pit, if you must sit in the side blocks, as far
from the stage as possible on the left side, or on the "high numbers" side - you
won't be closer to the action, but will probably get a better angle), but not
the classic of its predecessor. That said, Baker is still a true writer, and
it's plenty to be going on with until her next UK appearance.
The Great Wave: Not available.
Nine Night: Not available.
The Winter's Tale: Not available.