People Like Us:
by Julie Burchill and Jane Robins
The Union Theatre, 229 Union Street, Southwark, London SE10LR to 20 October 2018.Tues-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 2.30pm
Runs 2 hr One interval.
TICKETS207 261 9876
Review: William Russell 7 October.
Enough to make the most enthusiastic remainer leave
There is very possibly a good play to be written about the impact the referendum on membership of the European Union had on British electorate, how families were riven apart, friendships broken, and the aftermath of recriminations in which remainers and leavers called one another names and charges of lying were hurled at the leavers and Theresa May was landed with negotiating a settlement which would satisfy everyone if leaving was inevitable, as indeed it is. This not that play. Indeed it is questionable whether it is actually a play.
Five old friends belonging to a north London book group meet to discuss books from time to time and drink good wine. Three are remainers, two are leavers and they apparently work in the arts in some capacity or other. They are, without exception, unbearably awful, the sort of people in whose company one has no wish to linger. They are not even all that well read. Given their age – late thirties or thereabouts – that the book they are reading is The Talented Mr Ripley is incredible. They would have read it decades ago.
They get drunk, they quarrel about Brexit, they fall out, the Remainers come back and there is a show down which provides the only moment of excitement. The tall blonde Remainer, who is something in publishing, and the French wife of the pompous wine snob goat who hosts the gatherings, have a punch up with much slapping, hair pulling and what look like a couple of rather good punches.
In the audience was a leading Brexiteer whose privacy I will respect. He left at the interval, remaining clearly not being an option. I remained since leaving is not an option for me. I did rather enjoy the fight.
The set is handsome, the cast toil valiantly to inject some life into their parts but why anybody bothered to put this load of pointless chat on stage is a mystery to which I have no solution.
Ralph: Kamaal Hussain.
Clemence: Marine Andre,
Stacey: Gemma Germaine.
Frances: Sarah Toogood.
Will: Paul Giddings.
Director: Ben De Winter.
Designer: Holly Best.
Lighting Designer: Matthew Swithinbank.
Production photography: Paul Nicholas Dyke.