Bad Nights and Odd Days by Caryl Churchill. Greenwich Theatre, London SE10 to 10 July 2021. 2** William Russell

Caryl Churchill can be a difficult playwright and this bill of four short plays finds her at her most taxing and confusing. Deciding to stage this two and a half hour affair plus interval during a time of pandemic is quite frankly mind boggling. The performances are fine, the plays taken singly would probably work well but as a job lot of four it is just too much to endure. Seagulls, which opens, involves two women discussing why the life of one has gone wrong; In Three More Sleepless Nights, which dates from 1980 three sets of couples argue in turn about their relationship while sprawled on bed avoiding going to sleep. To complicate things each they seem to have changed partners in each segment. In Abortive a couple talk about an abortion and in the last play Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen a 1971 radio play the world is polluted and life has to go on confined to one’s quarters. If all of that is not quite accurate it is because at times so opaque are the plays I had no idea what was going on – some four or five members of the audience decided at the interval not to wait to find out. James Haddrell’s direction seemed to me sluggish and it took the cast a lot of effort to get things moving. There are some wonderful Churchill plays and the actors doing these four may well have found much to find in them while rehearsing their roles as director Haddrell says but it escaped me and sadly nobody conveyed what it was to the audience either. This is essentially a chance for Churchill fans to see pieces of her work they may have missed.
Di: Gracy Goldman.
Valerie: Kerrie Taylor.
Cliff: Bonnie Baddoo.
Three More Sleepless Nights
Frank: Paul McGann.
Dawn: Verna Vyas.
Pete: Dan Gaisford.
Margaret: Gracy Goldman.

Colin: Paul McGann.
Roz: Kerrie Taylor.

Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen
Mick: Dan Gaisford.
Vivian: Verna Vyas.
Claudia: Bonnie Baddoo.

Director: James Haddrell
Set Designer: Cleo Pettitt.
Lighting Designer: Steve Carty.
Costume Supervisor: Sades Robinson.

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