Love and Information, Royal Court Theatre, September 2012
I'm currently dipping my toe back into the world of study with a distance learning course on theatre, it is interesting and one of the things recommended is to see a play by all of the playwrights on the syllabus - and if possible the actual play being looked at. Obviously the latter isn't easy but when the Royal Court announced they were premiering a new Caryl Churchill play I had to be pretty quick off the mark to make sure I got a ticket.
I'm not sure what I was expecting (I haven't got to the Churchill module yet!) but this really drew me out of my comfort zone.
I'd purposely not read reviews of the play but I had seen the star ratings go by and these covered a lot of numbers, but I knew that the Royal Court had a good reputation so I wasn't too worried. On the day I wasn't sure I wanted to go but that was more because of the glorious weather and spending what could well have been the last nice warm day of the year in a dark theatre just sounded daft.
I think I should have followed my gut instinct. This wasn't a play - it was 50+ scenes that weren't really related in any way, shape or form. It felt like a whole bunch of random sketches that were being tested to see which would work in a sit com or stand up comedy routine (in my opinion less than half of them).
There was no interval - and if there had been I'm not sure how many people wold have come back - it was just scene after scene in a blank white box with shockingly bright lights around it.
Some of the sketches were very funny, even when retold to family later, some were very moving and the actors without exception were very talented. For me though the simple lack of anything linking the scenes, or any knowledge of even why they were in the order they were, meant I couldn't relax into the afternoon at all. Perhaps I should have copied a lot of the audience and taken a large stiff drink into the auditorium with me!
It was an interesting afternoon in an interesting venue but for me the highlight was the couple sitting behind me arguing as they tried to remember which of them wanted to see the play "and for the love of God, why did they want to see this...thing!"