“Some enchanted evening you may see a stranger. You may see a stranger across a crowded room. And somehow you know, you know even then…..” and so the song goes on. Often it is true as well. Two people meet, something clicks and something starts between them. All well and good you might think. But people are complicated things. Everyone comes loaded with a trolley full of luggage behind them which affects their relationships in profound and sometimes quite unexpected ways. Not sure if I’m spouting a load of drivel here? Well, pop along to The Bunker and the world premiere of Fiona Doyle’s play Abigail then decide.
A man (Mark Rose) and a woman (Tia Bannon) meet. There is a distinct difference in age between them but despite this, there is an obvious attraction between them. They get involved in a relationship together and for a while, all seems good with them but their relationship changes and on the one year anniversary of their meeting, it alters completely.
Ok, not much of a precis in the paragraph above but it was necessary to keep the details to a minimum so that you would form your own opinion of the events that unfold in Abigail. Fiona Doyle has written a one-act two-hander play that is both intriguing and very frustrating in equal measure. I like a play that makes you stop and think. Good writing should do that. The problem for me with Abigail is that the entire play is open for interpretation. After the performance, I was coming up with lots of different scenarios around the story. This was easy to do because although there were all sorts of hints about the man and the woman, there was very little that was definite about either of them. We knew the woman had a father that she was close to, but how close was left to the viewer. We knew the woman was in an expensive hotel in Berlin for a reason but changed her mind, and we knew that she was pregnant at one point until after (possibly) a row with the man. Things weren’t really hinted at but just left in the air. This is a play where I can safely say the audience will have pretty much all have seen something different and made their own story about the man and woman.
On the acting front, full credit to both actors for navigating through the various scenes in a non-linear timeline and especially to Tia who was everything from a sweet little innocent, through a nicely flirty romantic to a woman who would hold the pillow over your face while singing a lullaby – or bat ship crazy as they are known. Mark Rose was pretty effective as the Man but due to the nature of the thrust stage, it was difficult sometimes to hear him fully.
I really liked Designer Max Dorey’s very clever and versatile set which Director Joshua McTaggart had the actors climbing all over at various points as it changed from a mountain walk to an international airport to a five-star hotel amongst other places.
Overall then Abigail was an interesting play. In some ways, it felt like I was being shown a series of single scenes and then asked to write a story in my head to link them all together. An interesting idea but not really to my taste. Having said that, the production itself wasn’t bad. Both actors were pretty good, the scenes themselves moved well, and the scene links were extremely effective thanks to good sound and lighting by Andy Josephs and Christopher Nairne respectively. Ultimately Abigail wasn’t one for me but any budding writers out there would have a field day.
Review by Terry Eastham
The Bunker Theatre presents the world premiere of ABIGAIL by Fiona Doyle
In Fiona Doyle’s ABIGAIL, a Man in his 40s and a Woman in her 20s meet on a trip to Berlin. Across a fractured timeline, the story of their relationship, their love, and their struggle unravels before our eyes.
Performance Dates Tuesday 10th January – Saturday 4th February 2017
Tuesday – Saturday, 7:30pm
Saturday and Sunday, 3pm
Age Recommendation 14+
Twitter @BunkerTheatreUK, #AbigailBunker
Writer Fiona Doyle
Director Joshua McTaggart
Designer Max Dorey
Lighting Designer Christopher Nairne
Sound Designer Andrew Josephs
Producer Zoe Robinson and Joel Fisher
Cast: Woman Tia Bannon, Man Mark Rose
Location The Bunker, 53A Southwark Street London SE1 1RU
Ten £10 tickets are available at each performance for under 25s
Available from http://bunkertheatre.com/ and 0207 234 0486.