By Amelia Roper. Kings Cross Theatre. October 20 – November 11, 2017
Amelia Roper’s play is aptly set on the intimate KXT stage. Here the audience can watch the characters closely, read their facial expressions, feel the tension of silent insinuations and react to them … more often than not in wry smiles and embarrassed laughter. Yet this is not just a funny play. I wish I had been able to see it earlier in the run to let people know how well it has been written, directed and performed. =
Set in Connecticut in the lead-up to the Global Financial Crisis, social and political implications hover, like predatory ghouls, above the action, never actually voiced but skilfully inferred by the four millennials who, in the words of director Nell Ranney, are “the next generation navigating a brave new frontier of gender roles and expectations”. Fueled by the ambition and affluence of the first few years of the new century, they have achieved ‘big things’ but are now beginning to face the crumbling values that the ‘American Dream’ once offered. That Roper can make it funny is a tribute to her natural, economic dialogue and her insights into how couples really relate.
She writes of theatre: “I like plays because two characters can say entirely contradictory things and both be right … and sometimes no one knows what the hell is going on and the play becomes about the struggle to articulate.”
And that is just what happens in this play.
Two couples meet on a blanket in a park. For Sara (Nikki Britton) and Henry (Tom Anson Mesker) this is “Sunday, fun day”, their time together away from Sara’s bank and Henry’s more humanitarian work as a nurse. Sara is bright, ambitious, hitting hard against the financial glass ceiling. Henry is more gentle ….