The Waiting Room was performed in the intimate space of The Lounge, a smaller venue for up and coming new writing, intimate productions and cabaret-esque performances within the The Leicester Square Theatre.
It ran over two nights in January, I went along to the second night of the production. The auditorium was full of eagerly waiting spectators, packed closely together, the venue looked like it had sold out.
The production is short at around 40 minutes and takes place in a nondescript “waiting room”. The performance space is small and well-fitting to the production. The idea is that the audience does not know where this “waiting room is” until a big reveal at the end.
The play was penned and first performed in 1970 and I would imagine at that time the content would have been quite ground-breaking. The climax of the production would have sparked debate and conversation. However, performed as a stand alone short one-act play in 2015, I did wonder why the piece had been staged at all.
To be honest, if this play was performed alongside another 1 or 2 short pieces it could have been really powerful, instead I left the theatre after the “reveal” feeling quite confused as to why I had just watched the piece.
The production itself is cast well, the two protagonists have real chemistry, their conversation bounced off each other, and both male and female lead displayed perfect comic timing. They were word perfect and you could see them working through the motions of why each other was in the waiting room.
I was genuinely interested and wanted to listen to them speak and watch them. Sadly the staging let them down – the last 10 – 15 minutes of the production is staged with them sat down, and due to the audience being at the same level as the performers I wasn’t able to see them whilst they were sitting.
The piece is designed to have a big reveal at the end, where the audience find out exactly where they are waiting. I did “work it out” quite early on in the piece, I also worked out their relationship to each other before it was revealed on the stage. Again, I am not sure if this is because of the times we are living in or if the play is written like that.
The performance of the cast could not be faulted and I would be interested to see the cast and directors work again.
Review by Faye Stockley
The Waiting Room
Leicester Square Theatre
Cast:Mark Rush as Paul and Beth Eyre as Harriet
Director Jenny Eastop
19th- 21st January 2015 at 7pm (running time 40 minutes approx).
Revival of John Bowen’s rarely performed 40-minute one-act play, directed by twice Offie-nominated director Jenny Eastop whose credits include Blithe Spirit (Gielgud Theatre/US tour), Warde Street (Park theatre) and Chekhov’s Vaudevilles (Jermyn Street Theatre).
‘Harriet and Paul meet in the waiting room of a hospital. A chance encounter or so it seems. As the conversation flows, they realise they may have more in common than they thought, and that this meeting was no coincidence.’
Sunday 25th January 2015