3 March 2015

One of Those at the Tristan Bates Theatre was very jolly


I got to make my first trip to the Tristan Bates Theatre thanks to young actress Emma Kelly and Twitter. I had been impressed by her in Play of Thrones and, as I often do with actors, started following her on Twitter where she announced that she would be appearing in One of Those, a comedy, at the Tristan Bates Theatre.

It was also a good excuse to try another new theatre, something that I am always keen to do.

The Tristan Bates Theatre is on the edge of Covent Garden and so a relatively short walk from the office. There was a decent Italian restaurant, Rossopomodoro, nearby so that was dinner sorted.

The theatre is part of the Actor's Centre which also had a cafe area downstairs. I helped myself to a coffee there while waiting for the play to start. We were summoned up the ramp to the theatre by a bell, the same technique used by the Cockpit though their bell is far more impressive.

Good positioning by the bottom of the ramp got me into the theatre before anybody else and I claimed the seat in the middle of the front row. This was something of an ad hoc theatre, more a performance space, with the sort of rows of temporary seating used for events, and at some other small theatres.

The scene was a carriage in a train heading from London to Penzance. In the carriage were two young people who started a conversation.

From this we learned that they both had slightly unconventional lives, she (Emma Kelly) was having a long-term affair with a much older man and he, despite his youth, had a school-aged daughter. They both found things to dislike in the other person's life choices and so the conversation bristled at times before they fought against this and tried to rebuild bridges, only for the cycle to repeat. There were a lot of laughs at their behaviours and I especially liked the point when, in one argument, they got at each other by spoiling the endings of the books that each other was reading.

They arrived in Penzance with their relationship in an uncertain position. He told her which train he would be travelling back on but she did not commit to joining him, but she did not refuse either.

Then there was a short break which mean going back to the cafe/bar to grab a bottle of beer.

In the second half we were back on the London to Penzance train and in another carriage. This one had a middle-aged man and his mistress. Then they bumped into his wife and the game was up. The three-way conversation that followed was one of shifting dynamics with the two women criticising the man at one point and then the married couple siding against the mistress. Like the first conversation, the emotions ebbed and flowed and there was a lot of humour along the way.

It also ended uncertainly, the mistress had gone but it was not clear that the wife was prepared to give her husband a second chance.

In the final neat twist we discovered that the two groups were linked.

One of Those was a jolly play that had some depth too. Everybody played their part well and that made for an entertaining and gratifying evening.

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