Katzpace Studio Theatre
Reviewed – 23rd April 2018
“an astute and interesting piece of theatre exploring issues that are unique to this place and time”
Succinctly drawing together the lives and problems of five Londoners, Gaps at the Katzpace Studio theatre leads us to explore the ins and outs of both dating and simply existing in the big city. Through swift glances into the lives and interactions of office workers, teachers and dentists we’re left with more questions than we started with, but also with a certain insight as to how life here in London can be approached.
This newly devised piece is built around moments of miscommunication. As conversations lapse into silence and words are left unsaid, there’s a certain undercurrent of melancholy. The relationships played out on stage go wrong in so many ways that it’s tempting to ask if they could ever have gone right. Through this lack of connection, characters write each other off as “weird” or a “psychopath”- in other words, different from themselves and therefore impossible to understand.
Part of the tragedy of this piece is that it holds a mirror very close to real life, and the reflection isn’t pretty. The fear and anger of a woman working in an office who is being sexually and socially harassed is one we see all too often both in the news and in our own lives. Seeing it played out on a virtually empty stage is a reminder of what we as a society so often choose to look past.
Despite this level of cynicism, there are moments which are unexpectedly funny. For example, Tim Larkfield’s mild mannered primary school teacher and Joanna Lord’s brash Australian dentist clash so horribly that there’s something comedic about it. Uncomfortable, but amusing nonetheless. Grace Venning’s simple but effective set design is built around a large black and white grid as a backdrop, with heavily pixelated footage of the underground projected at intervals. This worked well for the swift, episodic nature of the play, providing structure while blending in without distracting.
However, it may be worth questioning why, in an effort to show a cross section of dating life in London, only middle class, professional and heterosexual relationships were portrayed. If this play was missing anything, it was definitely short of a sense of the true diversity that London is home to. All in all though, this is small criticism. At its heart, Gaps is an astute and interesting piece of theatre exploring issues that are unique to this place and time.
Reviewed by Grace Patrick
Photography courtesy Woohoo Debbie
Katzpace Studio Theatre until 2nd May
At same venue