30 March 2014

The One at the Soho Theatre

The One sounded a little weird and that was good enough for me as I like a little weird and also I have only ever seen good things at the Soho Theatre.

There is a lot in my calendar at the moment so, not for the first time recently, I went to see the final performance. Lots of people had obviously read the same good reviews that I had and the place was sold out.

We were in the main theatre where I had been many times but this was the first time I had seen it with a raised stage. That threw my usual plan for a front-row seat and I grabbed on in the middle of the third which looked to be the nearest equivalent.

The set was a simple living room in a flat and that is where all the action was. Actually there was not much action, it was mostly just dialogue between unmarried couple Jo (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and Harry (Rufus Wright) with additional input from several-times visitor Kerry (Lu Corfield). Jo and Harry had met when he taught her at university and Kerry was a colleague of his.

The core of the play was the relationship between Jo and Harry and, to a lesser extent, that between Kerry and Harry.

Exactly what was going on was difficult to fathom as Harry and Jo both told lies all the time. Sometimes these were things-to-hide lies and sometimes they were having-a-laugh lies but it was impossible to be sure which was which or whether some of them were actually truths.

Kerry was as confused as the rest of us.

Harry and Jo joked/lied about some big topics like having children, getting married and having an open relationship and the emotions between them leaped up and down as they did so. Harry even appeared to be violent towards Jo at one point but that too could have been a joke/lie.

The joke/lie devise reminded me of The Magus (book by John Fowles) and The Game (film starring Michael Douglas) and I am not sure what happened in them either.

Stripped of a storyline that could be trusted this was a series of scenes which explored some of the most important aspects of relationships, notably trust, and the good/bad emotions that spring from these.

And it worked. The story pieces were each credible and were strung together believably to make a convincing and engaging drama.

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