Someone is going to get hurt. Someone in Row A. Someone in a seat numbered between fifteen and twenty-something. I know this because I was in Row A and I saw the chips of masonry fly in the direction of those seats as the breeze-block wall was knocked down with a sledge hammer. OK I’m being overly dramatic but it was slightly unnerving to have a young man swinging a hammer within a few feet of where I sat.
I wondered if perhaps the designer hadn’t quite taken into account that there would need to be an audience sharing the same space as their transverse set. It did seem to take up most of the Cottesloe’s floor space. Also people in my row were turfed out during the interval so that stage hands could lay a concrete (concrete-effect on wooden board anyway) floor on part of the set [Insert slow builder joke here].
I felt the need to remind myself about Matt Charman’s first play A Night at the Dogs which I saw a couple of years ago (and which won the Verity Bargate award). I couldn’t remember whether the reviews of it had been positive or excited and my own recollection doesn’t go much beyond ‘interesting’ which is my usual unhelpful comment. I think I missed any common themes between the two plays. They both end, I reckon, with the optimistic possible future slightly outweighing the pessimistic one but in the case of Five Wives… I’m not sure that there was a strong sense that Pinder had learnt anything or changed. Perhaps that isn’t necessary and it probably wasn’t the intention; it’s just me wanting a bit more of a battle.