17 October 2014

The Distance at the Orange Tree Theatre was predictably entertaining

The second show in the new reign at the Orange Tree was something contemporary, and I was pleased with that. I can take period drama but I prefer to do so in small doses.

I was still getting used to the other new things at the Orange Tree and one of these, numbered seating, meant that I could arrive later than previously. It also meant that I missed the pre-theatre Becks, which is probably not a bad thing for me but it was a little less money for the theatre.

The other new thing that I was not quite used to was the raised stage and on a second visit with it in place I still could not see what it added to the performance though the obstacle it made for the audience was obvious.

The play opened with a couple thrown together by a delayed flight and while he offered to share a hotel bedroom with her for sheer convenience the very obvious happened.

Leap forward a few years and she has arrived back in London having abandoned her husband and children in Australia. Helping (?) her to deal with the situation were two of her oldest and best friends. The story then revolved around their relationships with the occasional interruption from other people.

Understandable given the severity of the situation (wife runs half-way around the world from he family) there is urgency in the action and the story moves at a pace, though part of the tension between the women is agreeing that pace; Mrs Organised started to buy flights back while the wife wanted time to think.

There must be a name for this sort of play as it is a very common format. but I have no idea what it is. Essentially the play consisted of dialogue which revealed more about the women's histories and threw in a few big shocks, actually in this case they were not that big.

A second theme was the London Riots which were used both as a view of the world today but, more particularly, caused one of the women concern as her son was vaguely in the area. This device reminded me of Torben Betts' Muswell Hill which was unfortunate as I found that to be a better constructed and more enjoyable play.

That's not to say that The Distance was not entertaining, it was and there were some genuinely funny moments in it, I just felt that the serious moments were not serious enough.

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