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 agent.
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. Viv
is 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
Clearly very 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 character.
I may be overpraising the play with the comparison to Beckett at his best – there are a few too 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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