THEATRE REVIEW: Who They Were ★★★

Who They Were
Etcetera Theatre, London
Wednesday 6th - 9th November 2019

Set in a living room with clear plastic covering every inch of stools and a sofa, Eros (Lucy Abraham) is awaiting on 'food', but not before her ex Florence (Adela Rajnović) makes a untimely visit, the first time they have both seen eachother in 90 years due their immortality. The 'food' is in the form of Joe (Ruby Herrington), who recently has broke up with their boyfriend and rashly makes the decision in wanting to die and give her blood away instead of taking a booked trip to Paris by herself.

Luke Culloty's script has a lot of ideas thrown into the one hour running time, which mostly lands effortlessly. Abraham and Rajnović both paint a very awkward and tense atmosphere around one another which mirrors their characters positions and feelings in a long awaited reunion. With Florence delaying her final goodbye with her old lover, she finds herself forced into Eros and Joe's encounter, helping the visitor through her relationship woes, and the three performers really bounce off eachother.

Here though the use of boiler suits and face masks really restrict us from vocal definition and expression from our two protagonists either side of the sofa; Ruby Herrington meanwhile shines with big personality and clarity in motive and comic timing, it's just a shame her presence is so short lived, with a re-entrance later on one that would have been much welcomed. Within a technical aspect, again this is provided mostly through telephone ringing and music, which brings the production to a close, but in a rather jarring sense. It feels very much like a rushed ending, and loses the notion of a possible continuation between this mix of Breaking Bad meets Greek Mythology.

Overall, Who They Were feels like the last book in a series; the thought of what has come before is appetising, especially coming from the promise of our two protagonists written with force by Culloty and a premise which could be expanded into a later production, or a long running time of the current tale.


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