Writer: Will Eno
Director: Erica Whyman
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
The Public Reviews Rating:
A collection of five short plays by New York playwright Will Eno, Oh, The Humanity and Other Good Intentions introduces a range of wonderfully real characters trying to exist in today’s world. At times bleak, at others terribly funny, the strength of these pieces lies in Eno’s uncanny ability to reach into your head and pull out your innermost uncertainties.
With superb performances across the quintet we are introduced to a coach explaining his team’s poor season, strangers looking for love, an overtaxed spokeswoman, a pair of photographers and an unlikely trio unsure of their destination. Particularly skilled in penning monologues, the most successful pieces showcase this talent. John Kirk’s coach is frank and sympathetic, voicing his innermost thoughts in a public arena which allows the piece to be both uncomfortable and hilarious in equal measure. Lucy Ellinson, who appears in every other piece, shows extreme versatility and is particularly enjoyable as the spokeswoman who puts her foot in her mouth at every opportunity but is oddly likeable. The heart of the showcase, and perhaps the most interesting of the shorts, is a two-hander between Ellinson and Tony Bell who individually address an invisible camera seemingly making a dating video. The monologues overlap, and reveal an aching sense of loneliness and disconnection in both characters though that is shot through with feelings of hopefulness. Bell’s slow, deliberate speech pattern and outstanding comic timing make his performance particularly enjoyable, with Ellinson providing exquisite counterpoint.
It’s unusual to find a series of short plays that hang together well as a whole, even when created by the same writer, but Erica Whyman’s faultless direction and the strength of the cast ensure that they do and that the overarching sense of isolation coupled with optimism pervades the pieces which alternately move and amuse.
Until 25th August