The Theatreguide.London Review
In March 2020 the covid-19 epidemic
forced the closure of all British theatres. Some companies adapted
by putting archive recordings of past productions online, others
by streaming new shows. Until things return to normal we review
the experience of watching live theatre onscreen.
Finborough Theatre April 2021
This first play
by Julia Grogan traces the friendship of three young women from
mid-teens to mid-twenties. And now that I've told you that you might not
be able to predict every single plot turn, but very little in it will
playwright, director Blanche McIntyre and actors Robyn Cara, Hannah
Millward and Helen Monks work hard to individualise the characters and
make their story come alive, too little moves beyond the level of the
As teens the
girls gossip, fret over their place in the school pecking order, and
take turns concluding that they're sluts, frigid or lesbians. As time
passes two do well on exams and begin to think about university while
the other slips into online sex work.
accepted to uni, one gets married, one dies, one announces that she has
been in love with one of the others all along, one finds a modestly
The actors work
hard to individualise and flesh out their characters, but even if you
haven't seen or read very similar stories before, it feels like you
director are even less successful at creating a sense of a shared
reality. The play is performed in Zoom format, with the actors
separately playing to their computers and, apart from furtive glances at
their scripts, they all face straight forward at the camera.
Even when the
editing puts two or three windows side by side the women give little
indication of relating to each other.
Miss a couple
of early passing references and you might not realise that the entire
play takes place in one setting, under a particular tree they consider
their special place, and you could be excused for thinking we were
eavesdropping on a string of online conversations.
Zoom theatre is a new and difficult medium to master, but we have seen it done better this year. Everyone involved in Playfight is talented, but the whole never really comes together.
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