Home » London Theatre Reviews » We Were Having A Perfectly Nice Time at Clapham Omnibus | Review

We Were Having A Perfectly Nice Time at Clapham Omnibus | Review

WWHAPNT - Hannah Livingstone and Stephanie Booth - Credit Erica Belton.
WWHAPNT – Hannah Livingstone and Stephanie Booth – Credit Erica Belton.

I’ve often said that it is better to leave the audience wanting more than to outlive one’s welcome. But We Were Having A Perfectly Nice Time leaves so many questions unanswered that the play is almost crying out for a second act, or at least twenty-five more minutes on top of the twenty-five that the audience is given. As the show begins, one wonders if Stephanie Booth and Hannah Livingstone’s unnamed characters (whom I shall simply call A and B for the sake of argument) are sitting in a waiting room of some sort: both are staring vacantly straight ahead without saying anything to one another or anyone else before a flurry of quick-fire dialogue begins. It’s a bit like watching a short Samuel Beckett play. And yes, I meant that as a compliment (and not, to misquote Beckett, that this is a ‘better failure’ than whatever Pedro Leandro had written before).

Familiarity breeds contempt as these two characters grapple with how they feel about one another – A declares her love for B but this is not reciprocated, but then again B is preparing to head out for the evening, a date with her lover Charlotte. A is, according to B, single because she is obnoxious, walking around with an air of superiority to the point that a relationship with anybody is unsustainable. Harsh words, perhaps, but A fights back, and the dark and sarcastic humour is strangely compelling.

For the most part, delivery of the script is deadpan, deliberately so – as is the minimalist set: there are no props at all. There are some intriguing insights into, for instance, how ‘love’ is a word with so many meanings and connotations that it cannot be debunked. It’s clear the pair have known each other long enough and deeply enough to speak frankly – tact and diplomacy are sparse as sparks increasingly fly. A eventually, and suddenly, becomes more expressive, but once her stream of consciousness has run its course, finds herself having said things she somewhat regrets.

It’s absorbing stuff but the show feels incomplete: a work in progress if you will. Not only is it a single act, but it’s also a single scene, and comes to an end with no follow-up or postscript. How does the date with Charlotte go? Does the friendship between A and B survive the major wobble it experiences in the scene? Perhaps, to misquote the 1970s rock band Joy Division, love will tear them apart. Perfect comic timing from both actors makes for an enjoyable if brief evening.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

Some people are inherently unlikeable. Some people smell bad. Some people have just read The Bell Jar and insist on telling everyone. Some people click their fingers at waiters & waitresses.

These two flatmates hate those people.

They seem to hate a lot of things. Perhaps even each other. But they were having a perfectly nice time. Not great, not wonderful, not even lovely, but good. Fine. And then she had to go and spoil it all.

We Were Having a Perfectly Nice Time is written by Pedro Leandro, with Evan Lordan directing. It is performed by Stephanie Booth and Hannah Livingstone.

2-24 OCT (FRI + SAT)
7:30PM (FRI + SAT) 9PM (FRI)
https://www.omnibus-clapham.org/

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