Out Of Love – February 2018

Experience: 4/10

By Elinor Cook

Directed by James Grieve

Company: Orange Tree/Paines Plough/Theatre Clwyd

Venue: Orange Tree Theatre

Date: Thursday 15th February 2018

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. My comments at the start of Black Mountain apply equally to this piece, another co-production which bored me rigid. Same set, same cast (who did another good job), similar lack of anything interesting or new: this time I did manage to nod off. Steve stayed awake, and would have rated this play higher than me, but only 5/10.

The play concerns the relationship between two women, Lorna and Grace. Again, there were lots of short scenes which flicked rapidly forwards and backwards in time, and involved the actors playing not only older and younger versions of their main characters, but other characters as well. In this, the cast did a great job: we were always aware of who they were and roughly when they were. To be fair, the writing did help with this, but the bulk of the credit must go to the actors, who were wearing the same costumes throughout the seventy minutes. (Not the same ones as for Black Mountain, but also modern dress.) The performance style was the same as Black Mountain, and although there was more physical contact, they mainly stood and talked to each other, creating a very low energy level.

One of the girls gets pregnant, the other goes off to have a career. Their relationship is strained, but rumbles on. (I can feel myself falling asleep as I type.) Steve summed up both plays with two words – singer/songwriter. We’ve found that most singer/songwriters tend to write about their own adolescent experience, and unless they make a real effort to grow up, their songs tend to be depressingly similar and of little interest to sixty-somethings. These plays felt like that: reasonably well written in some ways, but lacking any depth of imagination, ideas or characterisation. Not our favourite day at the Orange Tree.

© 2018 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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