YOU MAY GO NOW – A MARRIAGE PLAY
by Bekah Brunstetter.
Finborough Theatre above The Finborough Road Brasserie 118 Finborough Road SW10 0ED To 22 March.
Sun, Mon 7.30pm.
Runs1hr 45min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 847 1652 (24hr No booking fee).
www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk Full-priced tickets reduced online).
Review: Timothy Ramsden 21 March.
Quick-witted, time-spinning portrait of a marriage and family.
Things are so normal in this American Dreamland kitchen they’re abnormal. And that’s playwright Bekah Brunstetter way throughout. Nimble and comic, it also builds-in sadness. This is what can happen – most likely will happen – when lies are told and concealments made to protect an idealised picture of the world.
Long-widowed Dottie gives daughter Betty a crash-course in housewifery and marriage duties on her 18th birthday, before sending her out into the world to live her life. Were things really so bad in the 1950s? Or 1940s? And when is this anyway? Time-defining references don’t add up. Then, when long-dead dad arrives home, before shooting himself because biology prevents him from becoming the paterfamilias he ought to be, chronology goes seriously awry.
Family – or non-family – secrets emerge, love intervenes, the dead Robert keeps returning physically, just as he’s present in Dottie’s mind. Young Phillip arrives, his mobile ‘phone and laptop catapulting the women beyond their era. For the external world and its changes can’t be kept at bay; the results of trying are long-term.
Protective closeness between mother and daughter shows physically, in kisses and Betty’s urge to hide under her mother’s skirt. The wide world isn’t so wide to these women; countries and continents blur in Betty’s mind. A ringing ‘phone causes consternation; an unexpected arrival throws Dottie into distress, though it gives wing to the romantic delight Betty’s been taught she ought to experience. And when lies are exposed, the result’s destructive.
As impressive as the playwright’s control of the unrealities is the light touch of Ellie Browning’s Finborough production. Ryan Early as the husband and Michael Benz as the not-so-accidental intruder both have the right seriousness throughout, but it’s mainly the women’s play.
Lucy Newman-Williams as the type of a 1950s home-magazine housewife, anxieties repeatedly troubling her features, and Florence Hall’s Betty, energetic throughout, naively eager to discover more about awkward aspects of her physicality discovered in the Readers’ Digests she secretes in her apron pocket, both hit precisely the right note for this exposure of the fantasy that can pass for reality when awkward realities are denied.
Dottie: Lucy Newman-Williams,
Betty: Florence Hall.
Robert: Ryan Early.
Phillip: Michael Benz.
Director: Ellie Browning.
Designer: Joe Schermoly.
Lighting: Jacob Mason-Dixon.
Sound: George Dennis.
Costume: Katy Mills.