|Love, Secrets and Horror Combine in this Highly Enjoyable New Play|
Penny Flood reviews 'The Moment We Met' at Barons Court Theatre
This terrific new play by Ian Buckley is a love story about a couple who fall in love but find their happiness is snatched away by a cruel twist of fate. It may sound old hat, but it isn't. This love story comes wrapped in deep mystery which is hinted at, as the story unfolds. For a while it's only the audience who are privy to any hint of this mystery which adds a certain tingling of expectation.
This is Buckley's third play at this theatre and it's his best yet. He mingles romance with intrigue and horror, holding back the ultimate twist until things come to a shocking head in the final scenes.
The clever script allows the couple, Liz (Mary Drake) and Alan (Daniel Lillie), to discuss their thoughts with the audience so we know more about them than they know about each other. Liz has a slight touch of desperation – her biological clock is ticking and Alan has a caginess and fear of commitment. But in spite of this the relationship blossoms, albeit slowly but with never a dull moment.
But something nasty is lurking underneath the happy surface; both Liz and Alan are hiding big, dark secrets. Liz gets the first inkling something may be amiss when a trip to the countryside near Alan's home town goes wrong and he gives too much of himself away. But she puts that aside and they have a baby.
Then just when they think life couldn't be sweeter everything starts to fall apart. This is down to an act of stupidity on Alan's part and nobody's ready for what comes next. The truth that's he's been denying for years has come to the surface and he has to face it, at the same time the truth that Liz has been seeking for years is revealed and she'd like to deny it. Of course she can't and their lives become more tightly entwined than ever before.
It's as big a shock for the audience as it is for Liz and Alan, as we are all forced to accept the unacceptable. It's the truth and it can't be changed.
Drake gives a particularly strong performance here with a desperate monologue as she struggles to work out how she can carry on. She talks to the audience because she's alone, there's no one she can turn to. We can't help her, nobody can, and it spins to a breathtaking end.
Something this good deserves a bigger audience. Barons Court Theatre is a little gem and the people of West Kensington are lucky to have a production this good right on their doorstep.
The Moment We Met runs until March 29.
PERFORMANCES: Tues – Sat: 7.30 pm / Sun 6.30 pm. Additional Matinees: Sat 21st & 28th March – 2.30 pm)
Tickets: £12, £10 concessions
Box Office: 0208 932 4747
EMAIL BOOKINGS: Why not book by email (email@example.com)? Send details of performance and number of tickets required. Pay for them, in cash, when you come to the performance
December 3, 2014