Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Table Set For Two - review

Written by: Josh Brown (@JoshPBrown)

Sutherland House, Royal Holloway University of London

“Thank God we got caught in the rain.” Undoubtedly, there is something strangely romantic about the rain.  Perhaps it is the serenading claps of droplets as they meet the ground or perhaps it is the fresh smell of lightly kissed tarmac or maybe, just maybe, it is the intimacy of an endearing embrace sheltered beneath an umbrella.  Yes, The Underground Clown Club returns with the sister piece to their earlier production of The Ball or How to Dance, but after such a successful production could the clowning duo maintain such standards? 

Katie Overstall and Andrew Skipper have developed their own unique style of writing and performance; their naively innocent works have most recently focused on several short pieces of theatre exploring life, love, and loss.  A Table Set For Two introduces us to Henry, the adorable moron executed to perfection by Andrew Skipper, and the charming relationship he begins with Emily performed by Isla Jeffery.  With only a twenty minute running time, the piece’s short episodic structure delightfully showcases a collection of evocative moments from the couple’s relationship, climaxing in a poignant twist.

In essence the piece worked, but in order to capitalise on the concluding twist, the preceding scenes needed to emphasise a much stronger intimacy between the couple. Skipper and Jeffery had great chemistry and their relationship was supported by an expertly fashioned set, firmly placing us as voyeurs within their home, but we’re just not given enough time to romanticise about their dreamy relationship. The piece seems to get wrapped up in the artificial and desirable, rather than the natural and more down to earth experiences of love.  

Although there is no earth-shattering point to be found within the piece, The Underground Clown Club does manage to prove that there is indeed “magic in the mundane”.     


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