THEATRE AT HOME REVIEW: Midnight Your Time ★★★
Midnight Your Time
A Donmar Warehouse Digital Production
Wednesday 13th - Tuesday 19th May 2020
Whilst I have never owned an apple product in my lifetime, I became immediately sucked into Judy’s (Diana Quick) technological world of a desktop full of folders depicting different titles and initially building a background of a character we are letting into our lives for just over 30 minutes, as the running time details; from Family Photos to Old Projects, Labour Docs to Car Insurance, straight away we build this world, and as Judy is trying to get hold of her daughter Helen, who we do not hear and see throughout the whole film, we are treated to this completely realistic vision that has transported us from the first minute.
Taking place just after the turn of 2010, we are drip fed little bits of information from the numerous messages Judy is sending to her daughter, with no response back; whilst we aren’t ever sure just how far each message is from the other in terms of days, weeks, or months, Quick does a magnificent job in building so much frustration in her dialogue, that actually you can’t help but wonder if she really is talking to us. There are real moments of atmospheric bliss in the production also, all solely told over video calls, when we get to snoop around Judy’s home with the various backgrounds she choices to take us to; it’s almost like Director Michael Longhurst has tuned in to the current events and the delight that everyone is having in lockdown by the nosiness of the country commenting on whats in the background rather than the action or speech we are meant to be paying attention to.
With such a short running time, not everything however feels fleshed out enough in Adam Brace’s writing to truly appreciate the whole picture behind Judy’s constant messaging; we do understand that around Christmas 2009 there was a huge fallout as Helen decided to stay abroad for the foreseeable future instead of being with her elderly family, but as we only get to really hear Judy’s side of this story, if we’re really going to try to be drawn into a new world of digital theatre in these hard times, I feel also deflated that we never hear from any secondary characters, even from Judy’s husband Jonathan, who does play a part in the story later on in the piece, but only through Judy’s words, with no verbal or physical presence from any other artist apart from Quick.
Overall, Whilst Midnight Your Time does set up a realistic and authentic world that we find ourselves captivated by, a lack of extensive background information or secondary performers makes the whole piece feel like a jigsaw piece is missing from the whole picture, with a short running time that only really starts to skim the surface.