Review: Volcano, Richmond Theatre

“The most beautiful thing about having people to stay is when they leave.”

There’s always a danger, when delving into the realms of rarely-produced works by playwrights in the hope of unearthing of a gem, of forgetting that there are often good reasons why some plays gather dust on a shelf even whilst others are regularly revived. It is currently Noël Coward’s turn to have his back catalogue exhumed, in the form of this touring production of the 1956 play Volcano but though it is an addition to Coward’s oeuvre that might be appreciated by completists, it can hardly be said to be a salutary contribution to his legacy.  

The warning signs are there: the play was never performed in Coward’s lifetime (programme notes suggest it would have been too frank for the censors but the play didn’t even get that far as it was turned down flat by his producer) despite being written nearly 20 years before his death and came at a time when he had just become a tax exile, having moved to Jamaica amidst a cluster of colonial celebrity chums whose intrigues could well have inspired the events of seen here. Continue reading “Review: Volcano, Richmond Theatre”

Review: Unrelated, Jermyn Street

“You think I can trust women?”

After three weeks on holiday, my theatregoing restarted with a gentle introduction with Unrelated, presented as part of the Summer Shorts Season at the Jermyn Street Theatre, where material is performed and tried out with a view to developing shows for potential full runs. Unrelated is a four-hander by Dan Horrigan, an excoriating attack on middle class attitudes and prejudices and the dangers inherent in personal desires, whether in is stifling them to please others or pursuing them with wild abandon.

The story is told through two pairings, Martin arrives at a classy prostitute’s Jean’s place with a view to becoming one of her regulars but it soon emerges that all is not as it seems and separately, his wife Annie is engaged in a conversation with journalist Rachel as she comes to terms with the actions of her husband: the action flits between the two developing relationships throughout as we come ever closer to the truth about what has happened and who these people really are. Continue reading “Review: Unrelated, Jermyn Street”