“So, what is it that you do?” We’ve all been there, stuck at a dinner party next to someone we’ve never met before and asking what job they do is a safe place to start a conversation. And then we hear the answer, some ludicrously long job title which sounds so dull that you’ve practically fallen asleep before they’ve finished telling you. Not the conversation starter you’d hoped for. Behind Closed Doors is an amusing take on the perils of hosting a dinner party but as the alcohol flows things start to take a serious turn.
Emma is hosting a dinner party for her work colleagues and their partners. From the start, it’s clear that Connor, Emma’s partner, has little time for the colleagues or their partners but it looks like it will pass with a usual amount of awkwardness and alcohol until Emma’s sister, Kirsty, turns up. Kirsty (played to perfection by Fiona McGee) asks the questions others feel too awkward to ask and generally enjoys stirring trouble. In the first half of the play this adds humour and causes many laugh-out-loud moments. In the second half, it starts to expose cracks in the relationships of the three couples in attendance, eventually building to an explosive ending. From the start you hope the play is going somewhere, it’s not that the jokes aren’t good or that the script wasn’t funny, it was just that it felt a bit frivolous and I have to say by the middle of the second half I was starting to give up hope of something more ever arriving. The end, when it came was excellent, it just took a little too much time to get there. For me, there wasn’t enough substance in the rest of the play for me to be totally engaged in the story. This is probably not helped by the characters themselves who are all largely one-dimensional stereotypes until the big finish.
The script was ably supported by a strong and solid cast whose timing and delivery drew maximum comedy from the script and ensured we were all taken aback by the twists and turns of late in the second half. The set was simple but effective- two sofas and a table (again, we’ve all been to a dinner party in someone’s rented flat where there’s not enough room for everyone to sit).
I think the key to this play is that it is relatable and that’s why it’s so funny. It’s because we’ve all given or attended dinner parties which fulfil every cliché in the book and the play makes the most of this, providing an amusing reminder of such evenings. It’s an enjoyable evening out, if a one dimensional one.
Review by Emily Diver
Featuring a cast of seven, the play takes place at Emma’s home where she is hosting a dinner party for her work colleagues and their partners. All seems to be going to plan, that is until her sister Kirsty turns up unexpectedly.
Talking about the play, Lee said ‘I’m incredibly proud and excited to have the opportunity to stage this new play of mine. I am delighted to be working with such a talented group of actors over the next six weeks and I can’t wait to get into rehearsals and explore everything about this play.
One of the main ideas I wanted to look at when writing this play was the image we portray of ourselves when we are around other people, and the persona we unmask when they’re not there. But maybe it is also a play that is about the efforts we go to with the friendships we form, and at the heart of it the deep-rooted ties we have with family, which is something inescapable from childhood to adulthood. Above all, I hope it will be a fun, entertaining and an enjoyable evening for everyone who comes to see the play’.
Production Team: Writer / Director: Kevin Lee
Cast: Suzy Whitefield, Pearce Sampson, Krystina Westall, Ciaran Duce, Frances Knox, Adam Strawford and Fiona McGee
Lighting: Ali Hunter
Marketing: Zabby Allen
The Drayton Arms Theatre, 153 Old Brompton Road, Kensington London, SW5 0LJ
Tuesday 22nd August to Saturday 26th August 2017