Every day we make choices, each of which change the future for not only us but everyone we interact with. Often these are little things, like what to have for lunch, which barely cause a ripple in the space time continuum. However, there are also major decisions in life that will affect everything. What would be great would be if we could know the outcome of the various options and thus make a fully informed choice knowing every nuance of our decision in advance. Doughnut Productions explore this theory in their new production “The Right Path” at the 3 Mills Film Studio
Jo (Georgina Periam) has just hit thirty – considered by many to be one of the most important milestones in life – and has been celebrating with her partner Mark (Neil Patrick) and after the party, they sit and talk about their lives. We get a glimpse of how they met at Jo’s sister’s wedding where Mark was a singer and Jo a reluctant bridesmaid. At that time, Jo in particular had lots of plans and ideas about what she wanted to do before she got old (ie 30). But five years on from that meeting, Jo and Mark have settled. Mark has given up writing music and now works for the council as a pillar of society – except when being led astray by his brother Paul (Charlie Tantam) – while Jo has put her dream of being an artist on hold and now works with Marie (Elena Voce) in a pottery cafe. Jo is dissatisfied and has secretly applied for an arts based job in Paris. When she is offered the job and Mark finds out the two of them have a row and realise that this is potentially a major turning point in their lives together. Of the various options open to them, they each write their preferred choice on a piece of paper and then decide what to do based on this.
Director Eloise Lally and Doughnut Productions have a gem of a show with “The Right Path”. Set over four separate stages with the audience on swivel chairs in the middle, the show moves along really well and at one point there is action occurring on two stages at the same time. The story itself is really strong as well, with the various options being played out, each starting from the moment when Jo and mark hand over their piece of paper to the other and then running through to their respective conclusions – a really marvelous story telling idea that I totally loved. Turning to the actors, I thought Georgina and Neil were excellent in their respective roles of Jo and Mark. There was a real feeling of chemistry between the two of them from the start and their fine acting skills were really tested as they enacted the various possible lives the two characters may have had. I also think that Neil should get a special round of applause for publicly wearing Muppet boxer shorts. Elena and Charlie were great in their small, but absolutely vital, supporting roles though I did think that Charlie’s Paul was not quite as brash and outgoing as the character seemed to be written.
Overall, I thought “The Right Path” was a really good play in every respect. The use of the four stages with the audience in the middle, which I initially thought would just be a gimmick, turned out to work really well given a nice sense of place to the various scenes. The story itself was extremely well written with the first act really setting up the characters and giving the audience a chance to get to know and care about the lives of Jo and Mark. The second act then concentrated on the outcome of the various options but in a non judgemental way so that the audience could make their own minds up as to which path they would have wanted Jo and Mark to take. A lovely piece of writing by Andrew Cooper and Kate Austen all the way through which was delivered by two very fine actors. “The Right Path” is a lovely play and provided both myself and my companion – who apparently can’t recognise ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’ – when he hears it with a great afternoon’s entertainment.
Review by Terry Eastham
The Right Path
Choosing the right path in life can be a daunting task. If you could see into the future would you stay true to your ambitions? Jo and Mark have hit a major crossroads do they stay, go or split? Either way their lives will never be the same again.
Sunday 20th September 2015