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Sympathy Pains at Park Theatre Finsbury. Three stars

September 20, 2013

A girls jaunt to see a friend of a friend in a play she has written and stars in. Lovely little theatre with that North London literati vibe going on, but slightly less well heeled than Hampstead. But shishi enough to offer us ‘Cheese plate’ and ‘Veggie plate’ on wooden boards to share along with various wines and beer.

The play itself was an enjoyable hour but not entirely satisfying. A two hander where the wife is considerably more financially successful than her husband who is a once-published writer still waiting for his next break. And they resent each other in various ways and are both pretty unlikeable. Which is part of the problem for me. I just don’t give a shit about them. And then, in an attention-seeking move extraodinaire, the husband declares he is pregnant. About to have the child they never had. To be more of a woman than his wife, just as his wife is more of a man than her husband. And we go through various scenes and eventually she declares all she wants is to be swamped by his masculinity. For him to take control. For him to be the man.

The relationship between them wasn’t explored enough for us to feel involved and the continual sideways looks to the audience i found distracting rather than comedic. It had potential but didn’t quite fly for me, but the acting brought it up to three stars.
And the ambience and chat made it a really fabulous midweek boost with conversations ranging from books to bitching and food to friendship. Just what the doctor ordered. And needed.

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