Old Red Lion, London EC1
Opened 26 November, 1992

Lyall Watson's four-hander encompasses him, her and their respective solicitors (of respectively opposite genders): he leaves her and the kids for a younger woman, she becomes poisoned by the experience while he deludes himself about his new life; the solicitors enjoy their formal legalese tussle over custody of and access to the children, one relishing the Rumpolery (though whether that's the actor or the character is open to debate), the other smacking her lips at the fees she's getting for it.

Watson's script is basically monologic window-on-the-feelings fare, with a few brief exchanges thrown in to leaven the proceedings. But partly due to the writing and partly to Sian Edwards' direction, the characters are never placed in a world; scenes take place in a limbo where the occupants of one office are visibly listening attentively to the proceedings in the other, and occasionally interrupting each other. It's an odd way to mitigate fundamentally static staging and, combined with a frequently sinewy turn of phrase on Watson's part, suggests that the theatre is not the best medium for this particular piece as currently constituted. Reworked it could realise its potential, but it doesn't here.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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