30 December 2008

Well by Lisa Kron

Ann Kron - Sarah Miles
Lisa Kron - Natalie Casey
Oliver Chris, Jason Rowe, Maggie Service & Zara Tempest-Walers
Voiceover - Emilio Aquino

Directed by Eve Leigh
Designed by Nicky Bunch

See on a half price tkts in a great centre aisle seat at the Apollo, Shaftesbury Avenue. Nobody of note in the audience

Billed as running for 90 minutes but despite the fact that it was a matinee, it ran for much more like 100 minutes, even allowing for the fact that Jason Rowe battled a total corpse for about 3 minutes.

Wow - I wouldn't like to be Ann Kron! A refreshing production which starts off as more of a stand-up routine fantastically well handled by Ms Casey, that morphs into a 'let's work out all my problems and parental blame on a stage' type of thing. Lisa is so cruel to her Mum that the ensemble invited (and paid) to flesh out this tale of mistakes in upbringing decide they cannot continue with the production.

You can pretty much deal with the thought process that Ms Kron went through when writing this but thankfully she soon came to a point where she must have thought 'this is a load of self-regarding wank' and realised she needed a twist to make it palatable. I think her next decision was spot on. Lisa's Mum is dreadful in the telling but wonderful in the actual event. No wonder the ensemble revolt.

Each of these actors held their characters masterfully and I marveled at Sarah Miles energy. The set was interesting and practical and my only annoyance was that the lighting tech seemed to be working at half cock. There is an outside chance it was supposed to be rubbish but I think it was either a substitute techy or a lazy, distracted git.

I did have the feeling that a slightly different space would have suited this piece more. It felt quite strange to see it in an old style establishment and on the theatre avenue. Perhaps the location was the cause of my concern more than the theatre type - I suspect a swap with Sunset Blvd at the Comedy would feel better.

So far, all the press photos I have seen give the impression of a light farce, which it isn't. I won't say it's a masterpiece but it's so good to see someone deal with their issues in a quirky way.