14 February 2020

How to Save a Life at Theatre503 was clever dark fun

I like to see everything that I can at Theatre503 but there are only so many days in the week. I could easily have missed How To Save a Life because it was only on for a week and it took some effort to see it on Valentine's Day.

I went for my usual front-row seat A4 which was an amazingly cheap £5 because no-one else likes being in the front-row.

Also usual was the meal in The Latchmere (the pub downstairs) beforehand. As always the food there was excellent and the service clumsy.

My brief reading on the play's synopsis led me to expect a light comedy on a dark subject and that is more or less how it started with a couple of nice theatrical touches to the chronology with a short step taken back to a beginning and later a longer step back to the real beginning.

Then one word changed the story and the mood. A light comedy became a serious play peppered with some light comedy elements, particularly when the two female leads remembered their early days together. It became funny and unsettling at the same time, as a dark comedy should be. How do you laugh at cancer?

Along the way a life was saved, almost in passing, and a serious point was well made.

The comedy was as I expected and that would have been enough but the play was so much more than that with its serious elements, clever crafting of the timeline and three excellent performances by Heather Wilkins, Holly Ashman and Tom Laker.

How to Save a Life was clever theatre that remembered that entertainment is important too.

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