I’ve really missed Jermyn Street Theatre and it’s a pleasure to be reviewing there again – even virtually.
Susan Elkin | 18 Mar 2021 11:06am
It has to be said that I haven’t really embraced digital reviewing but I’m glad I made an exception for Ian Hallard’s debut play which, as I sat at the computer in my home office on a springlike March morning, made me laugh aloud several times and held my attention for the whole 60 minutes.
Richard, a history teacher, and Ros, a recently bereaved carer for her sister, are on a first internet date – and it has to be via Zoom because this is 2020. Hallard as Richard (“Have you ever been a Dick?”) and Sara Crowe as Ros are wonderfully awkward with each other as it becomes apparent that they have nothing in common. There’s a hilarious, dead pan faux pas about an aubergine. As the summer wears on there are more Zoom meetings – different clothes each time – with the twinned shots sometimes swapping across the screen and then eventually, once the hospitality industry re-opens, an alcohol-fuelled dinner in a restaurant with a lot of comedy about social distancing. And I shall cherish the tortoise joke for a long time.
A back story (no spoilers) gradually emerges for Richard and then things begin to take an unexpected turn. The wife Lois (Katherine Jakeways) from whom he is separated treats us to some gloriously natural, totally convincing acting. And we watch Ros, who claims to want to be adventurous but is initially nervous, ill-at-ease and clumsy, gradually find her feet. Sarah Crowe really nuances the painfulness and then the gradual change.
What a good idea for a play – topical and workable under current restrictions. Beautifully directed by Khadifa Wong it’s both entertaining and thoughtful.