SEIZE THE DAY
by Kathryn Duffy.
Ustinov Theatre Sawclose BA1 1ET 10 May 2011.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 01225 448844.
Review: Martin Franks 6 April at The Key Theatre Peterborough.
A light, well-made comic evening which could go dramatically further.
Playwright Kathryn Duffy has a lovely ear for dialogue in this double-bill from All In Theatre, whose tour ends at the Ustinov. The concepts of the two plays comprising ‘Seize the Day’ are classic opportunities for good character interplay – two or three people trapped in a space and forced to communicate. They work well.
A Head for Heights is up first, as the experienced, garrulous roofer Jon passes on all his tiresome gnomic worldly wisdom to the up-tight, ex-data collector Len – clearly suffering from vertigo. Jon of course is completely insensitive to this as he shouts down into the abyss at the mute and unseen Gary (jokingly played by Colin Firth according to the programme). There are several good surprises and a real sense of comic play between two obviously defined characters.
Then there’s Treading Water in which Duffy performs as Sue, alongside Jenny Walters as Carol, two rather housewifey lifeguards. The mundane attention to the coffee and tea regime and Sue’s obsession with Lance, the ‘metal-detecting enthusiast’ are fine comic elements. This play takes a while to arrive, but when it does it provides comic contrast in the characters.
All in Theatre proudly announce that they want to create Escapist theatre – ‘In dark times we need light’ is their tagline. Nothing wrong with that. But this is a talented group and Kathryn Duffy is a highly capable writer. Both scenarios have so much further to go and Duffy shows not only that she has an ear for comic dialogue, but an understanding of pathos and a sense of dramatic shape.
Accessibility and enjoyment would not be lost by creating longer, deeper plays. If you like your coffee light and frothy, this is for you. If you prefer to taste some bitterness and a bit of gustatory depth then you could leave a little understimulated.
A Head for Heights:
Jon: Mark Curtis.
Len: Stephen Sobal.
Lance: Daniel Lawson.
Carol: Jenny Walters.
Sue: Kathryn Duffy.
Director: Jason Webb.
Designer: Sharon Whitehead.
Lighting: Suzi Sarkozy Futers.