Bread & Roses Theatre
Reviewed – 31st August 2017
“touches on many themes … in a witty and provocative way”
Award winning playwright Ron Elisha, in collaboration with theatre company Another Soup, has brought his new play to the Bread and Roses Theatre. Directed by Dave Spencer, Window revolves around Jimmy and Grace, a young couple in their late twenties who notice some activity in their neighbour’s bedroom which dramatically affects their lives forever. Window is a rather honest portrayal of domestic family life and how the unexpected can alter their seemingly comfortable and happy relationship.
As the audience enter, Jimmy, played by Charles Warner, is in bed with his iPad. After a few minutes Grace, played by Idgie Beau, enters and both characters playfully flirt with each other in bed. Grace soon notices something from their neighbour’s bedroom; something that perhaps she shouldn’t have seen, but she’s transfixed. Over the course of the play she becomes more and more obsessed with what she has seen and this soon becomes a problem. It is clear that the two actors, Warner and Beau, have a good dynamic which carries the show. Beau in particular plays Grace effectively, displaying her character slowly descending into obsession over what she’s seen from the window and this is displayed well by her sudden erratic movements and emotion which turns from curiosity to hysteria.
The set is minimal but effective, with the entire play taking place in one location: Grace and Jimmy’s bedroom. This intimate setting echoes the voyeuristic theme of the play, which, of course, includes the audience watching the actors who in turn are watching their neighbours. The fact that there is no set change allows the play to flow easily with the actors going into each scene smoothly and efficiently.
Although the premise of the story was interesting, the show seemed a little too repetitive and almost became mundane for the audience. After an hour and a half of the couple looking out of the window, with very little resolution at the end, it was hard to remain engaged. The couple watch from their window endlessly, scene after scene, as they discuss their relationship, infidelity and their daughter Carmen. It all became rather tedious. In addition, the characters seem to be stereotypes of their gender. Jimmy is the confident, calm and logical of the two, whereas Grace becomes neurotic, emotional and hysterical as the play goes on. This is perhaps rather obvious characterisation; perhaps if Spencer had subverted the gender stereotypes, with Jimmy gradually becoming neurotic and Grace caring for him in a calm and logical manner it may have been more interesting.
Overall, the play is an exploration into voyeurism and domesticity through the life of a young couple. Elisha’s writing touches on many themes such as the use of technology, mental illness and relationships in a witty and provocative way. Both Warner and Beau presented this well. However, the repetitive nature of the show became predictable and finally lacking a clear resolution.
Reviewed by Holly Barnard
Photography by Greg Goodale
is at The Bread & Roses Theatre until 16th September