LOVERS WALK To 3 October.


by Marcelo Dos Santos and Gemma Kerr.

Southwark Playhouse Shipwright Yard corner of Tooley Street & Bermondsey Street SE1 2TF To 3 October 2010.
Tue-Sun 7pm Mat Sun 4pm.
Runs 1hr 5min No interval.

TICKETS: 020 7407 0234.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 15 September.

Love on the move.
This month sees Southwark’s streets pounded by theatrical audiences. The Menier has a walkabout production, and this Southwark Playhouse piece takes spectators from the theatre’s bar to the riverside then round by Southwark Cathedral as it unfolds the relation of characters called Matt and Rosie from initial glimpse to tentatively affectionate meeting through his lapse after the office party and on to romcom finale.

Given the running-time, and allowing walking time, there’s space only for a lightly-told relationship. With repeated insistence upon topographical accuracy – it happened here we are repeatedly told, so forcefully it’s natural to look for plaques commemorating the incidents. There’s one early piece of audience participation, brief and innocent enough. But also, within the limited playing-time a lot of narration in proportion to action – we’re told what has happened as much as shown it happening.

Yet Matt Odell’s casual manner, the initial sexual thrill, then the infidelity compounded by flippancy, and Rosie Waters’ thoughtful intensity, Matt’s jocosity fuelling her anger at his behaviour, is true to male and female natures.

And when they go their separate ways, it’s more dramatic to see her depart briskly into a warren of Southwark streets as we follow him, than any exiting stage left or right could provide. There’s the romance of the river, incorporation of HMS Belfast and the sheer momentum of moving around – at one point I nearly misled myself into an alternative group following their own assertive leader.

But, as Matt first saw Rosie under a red umbrella, so the pink folded brollies the pair hold aloft, tour-guide like, ensure we don’t’ become involved with other, real lives (easy to do – one bonus is the scraps of dramatic experiences overheard in passing conversations).

Each night offers a unique environment. Overcast but dry, Wednesday was a fine evening for following the action. Except that, before wedding-bells could ring out, the most dramatic scene took place in front of the Cathedral just as its campanologists clanged-forth an elongated peal fit to drown human voices. Yet, light (and noises off) apart, predictable as Lovers Walk is, it’s nevertheless an amiable wander.

Matt: Matt Odell.
Rosie: Rosie Waters.

Director: Gemma Kerr.

2010-09-17 00:44:26

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