The Theatreguide.London Review
Royal Court Theatre March 2020
Part demonstration of
the fragility of ordinary life and part affirmation of the ultimate
indestructibility of the human spirit, E. V. Crowe's new play is
attractive mainly as an opportunity to spend just over an hour in the
company of a talented and personable performer.
In what is almost a
solo show – three other actors play the largely silent Everyone
Else – Katherine Parkinson plays Viv, a wife, mother and estate
On her way to work one
day she loses a shoe and spends the
next two days hobbling about as that one accident starts her life
collapsing around her. She loses a sale, and then her job, and then
begins to lose her hold on reality.
And yet she soldiers on.
not particularly resourceful – it never even occurs to her to buy a
new pair – or brave or even very bright. But, like Winnie in
Beckett's Happy Days, she goes on because she simply can't imagine
not going on.
And, as in Beckett,
there is a kind of heroism in that,
and a reassurance that, if Viv can survive, so can we.
much depends on the actor at the centre of this play. Katherine
Parkinson may be best known to TV audiences for comic roles (The IT
Crowd) but she has also succeeded in Chekhov.
She finds all the
comedy in Crowe's script but also invests her role with a great deal
of warmth, presenting in both the pathos of Viv's intellectual
limitations and her dogged refusal to acknowledge defeat full reason
for us to love, support and recognise a common humanity with the
I may be overpraising the play with the comparison to Beckett at his best – there are a few roo many loose ends and digressions even in this short script. But it is a worthy companion piece, and doubly worthy as a vehicle for its central actor.
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