Last night I was very fortunate, in that I got to attend the world premiere of As Good a Time As Any – A Print Room at the Coronet production written and directed by Peter Gill.
Ashamedly, I’m not familiar with the work of Peter Gill. I must say I am now keen to read his plays and see more of his productions.
For those of you, like me, who’ve not ventured to the Print Room before, the theatre space is a black box studio set up within Notting Hill’s Coronet Cinema (originally built as a theatre). It’s an intimate venue that has built its reputation on highly acclaimed and varied performances. Sadly, like many of the fringe venues in London today, this one is a privately funded charity – and they don’t receive a regular public subsidy. They spend on average around £50,000 on productions and ticket sales only cover 35% of this. Hopefully more people attending their shows and the option to support them by becoming a Print Room Friend will ensure this venue continues to produce entertaining and valuable work.
This production is sublime. The casting is absolute perfection, the costumes are spot on (from the plasters on Bridget’s face and fingers, to the shoes and legwarmers that Gita has on under her sari), and the acting is of a very high quality – faultless. The lighting and sound design work in harmony with the piece, and the set design is simple yet effective.
The piece runs for 90 minutes without an interval. We meet eight women, all of whom come from varying backgrounds, with different social statuses and ethnicity. It looked like there was a woman from every decade from her 20s through to her 90s. When the piece begins you wonder where the women are – they are all seated next to each other on what could be a tube station seat, at a bus stop, or even on a park bench. However, within a few moments you no longer concern yourself with this as you are transported into the lives of every woman.
Not dissimilar to Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, the piece provides an externalised running commentary of each woman’s thought process. In all of the monologues, the women wrestle with their daily existence as they talk about everything; getting up in the morning, how they fill their very busy lives, how to cover up a stain on a dress, getting home from the cash and carry, growing up with the catholic nuns in England, their good china, quitting their jobs, getting divorced, the good old days, family relations, schooling, as well as the relationship with their god.
Each person’s story is intertwined with another. They also touch heavily on their relationships with the men in their lives; brothers, fathers and sons.
I could get very deep about their conversations, but I think that would be very prescriptive and personal to my opinion of the individual characters. I like the way that the stories are told in excerpts. It is almost like you are switching between TV channels and watching 8 different stories at once. Thankfully, due to multi-channel viewing and the amount of different series that we consume, it is not difficult to switch between stories and still know exactly where you are.
Review by Faye Stockley
As Good A Time As Any
Written and directed by Peter Gill
A Print Room Production
Designed by Bruce McLean
27th April to 23rd May 2015
Running time: 90 mins approx
Print Room at the Coronet
103 Notting Hill Gate
London W11 3LB
As Good A Time As Any – Trailer
As Good A Time As Any is a witty and ironic portrait of eight women on a spring morning in London. The eight women are the ordinary, unheroic inhabitants of the city, who speak for the continuity of everyday life, and its inexhaustibility. The world of As Good A Time As Any is on the face of it a small one, yet it has an intensity and depth of feeling which make it seem transcendent and universal.
Lucy Fleming and Roberta Taylor are joined by Tessa Bell Briggs, Indira Joshi, Olivia Llewellyn, Eileen Pollock, Hayley Squires, and Sharlene Whyte as the eight women in this playful piece written and directed by Peter Gill.
Friday 1st May 2015