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Road to Nowhere at the Bread and Roses Theatre

I was insulted the other day. Someone told me It was time I grew up. I replied that never going to happen. Why would anyone want to be a proper adult in this world? This is one of the many themes of Little Creatures Theatre’s play Road to Nowhere which I caught the Bread And Roses Theatre before its transfer to the Hope later in the year.

Road to NowhereEarly 2020 and five friends share a rather smart Hampstead house. They are an odd group, united by their time at Uni and their desire to become successful film creatives. At their head is Josh (Jonathan Walfisz) a thirty-something who, unbeknown to the rest has been using the bank of Mum and Dad to subsidise living costs in the house-share. Josh’s best friend is Violet (Molly Marsh) who is big into Sci-Fi as well as other things they don’t really talk about, except to Ciara (Cath Fleming) whose taste for filming gets her into trouble with Tessa (Malek El-Gonemy) and boyfriend Denys (Martijn Leiderdorp). As 2020 progresses and the country goes into the first COVID lockdown, the housemates, who’ve always bickered but got along, for the most part, start to argue and wind each other up. In an attempt to stem the negativity – and maybe achieve some personal goals – Josh suggests that they take a road trip to Paris to go and see another old Uni buddy, the highly successful filmmaker Ian Darlington (Harry Duff-Walker). Driving in a van with 5 people from London to Paris during a global pandemic to see an old friend that most of the group lost touch with years ago.

What could possibly go wrong?

Road tip plays are often a great source of fun and merriment and Road to Nowhere has a lot of amusing moments during the 1hour 45-minute run, particularly during the second act which, to me, felt a lot stronger than the first. The story, written by Jonathan Walfisz has a lot going on, with the trip, reacting to COVID, friendships, love, ambition, refusal to grow up, selfishness and pettiness all vying to get a space. And some elements really worked well – I don’t think I’ll ever get over the BAFTA Lunch – but one of the problems for me was that I really didn’t like some of the characters.

Josh and Tessa seemed to have no redeeming characteristics and I had trouble understanding why, apart from a morbid sense of loyalty, the rest of them put up with them. However, Violet was a lovely character and Molly Marsh played the part beautifully, again particularly in the second act when I think everyone’s first night nerves had settled a bit. There were some elements to the story that jarred a bit for me, such as why in an artistic collective, Ciara had a monster of a video camera for her diary, but Denys had a rather sad little thing for the space epic he was filming at the start. I was also surprised, given the state of lockdown in France at the time, that the team were able to travel so freely to Paris and back, when people in the UK were being arrested for sitting on a park bench. Though I did like the way Josh bent the ‘bubble’ rules to suit his plan of a trip – there may be a political career beckoning for that man. Molly Marsh, who also directed, had some nice directorial touches, and the use of video, to bring Josh’s thoughts to life was a great idea, but unfortunately, when Violet was sitting on the roof of the van, the screen was rather blocked from where I was sitting.

In some respects, Road to Nowhere felt like a piece being workshopped, and I think if it was tightened up, possibly as a one-act play, then it would work better. Having said that, there is a lot to build on. A robust and funny story, with some strong performances, suggests to me that the Road to Nowhere is definitely on its way to somewhere.

3 Star Review

Review by Terry Eastham

Road to Nowhere is the debut show by Little Creatures Theatre. Written by Jonathan Walfisz, the play follows a queer filmmaking collective facing eviction from their home on the eve of the March 2020 lockdown. Despite government instructions, they band together to drive from London to Paris to seek out a Hollywood film star in the hope of him reigniting their careers, and saving their home.

Directed by Molly Marsh, written and produced by Jonathan Walfisz, cinematography by Ellen McGahey, edited by Daniel Rodriguez Correia.

The cast is Jonathan Walfisz as Josh, Molly Marsh as Violet, Catherine Fleming as Ciara, Denys Wooley as Martijn, Malak El-Gonemy as Tessa, and Harry Duff-Walker as Ian.

Road to Nowhere will be in the Bread & Roses Theatre from February 7 – 9. The play will also have a second run in June at the Hope Theatre.
https://www.breadandrosestheatre.co.uk/

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