One of Those
26 January 2016
This new comedy by Thomas Ward-Thomas attempts to subvert modern British stereotypes of age and background. Unfortunately, his characters are unconvincing, and despite occasional bouts of witty dialogue, the play fails to offer a profound insight.
On a long train journey from London to Penzance, two twenty-something strangers start an unlikely friendship. Laura [Amy Newton] is a Brick Lane bimbo with spelling difficulties, while James [played by Ward-Thomas himself] is a posh boy from Battersea who went to boarding school. They bond as they realise there is more than meets the eye, but it becomes a competition of who can be more surprising. As the acting unconvincingly flickers between outrage and understanding, they develop a flirtation that feels rather contrived.
Meanwhile in the next hapless carriage, divorce lawyer Phillip [Michael Ball] and his tight-dressed mistress, are confronted by his wife Alice [Louise Bangay]. The effort to subvert stereotypes goes from overdone in the first act, to seemingly forgotten here. The vivacious young mistress [Emma Kelly] and the aggrieved wife virtually parody their characters, resulting in predictable gags hinged on dubious gender politics.
As the lives from one carriage merge with the other, the play descends into farce and the promise to bring new understanding is lost.