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Tuesday (Susan Elkin reviews)

By Michael Bhim. Produced by Robert Wisepart. Directed by Michael Kingsbury.
society/company: The White Bear Theatre (directory)
performance date: 26 Nov 2016
venue: White Bear Theatre
Everyone thinks Monday is the lowest point in the week but actually, according to this new four hander by Michael Bhim, if your life really is collapsing, Tuesday is far harder to get through. Edward (Thomas-Jan Johnston), the only character who’s in every scene, is living a comfortable, contented middle class life in a flat in Kilburn – except that he’s not. Eventually it transpires that it’s all a sham. His wife and their daughter left him months earlier, he has lost his teaching job and won’t have the flat much longer.

Johnston, whose character is initially colourlessly in denial, is an outstanding actor who – over the 90 minutes this play lasts – gradually reveals a deeply fractured, pitiful tragic man whose situation is so ordinary that we can easily identify with it. Jermaine Dominique as his school friend, Brian, cries, threatens, falls, shouts, hits out physically and verbally and makes a wonderful job of getting slowly drunk. His practice as solicitor is rapidly sliding away from him and he too is the star of his own tragedy. The subtext is pretty overt. The two men play deftly off each other and the quality of listening, always the mark of good acting, is high.

In the second scene Kate Burdette drops in as Nic, a former colleague and friend. Deeply hurt, she confronts him in icy distress from a distance. Then his estranged wife turns up to collect possessions and although there’s realistic and truthful banter she makes it clear that she’s moving on, pleading meanwhile that he visit his daughter. Both women are impressive actors although the structure of the play make their scenes feel episodic – almost as if the play were written for the convenience of the director needing to call only certain actors in to rehearse particular scenes. The point is, I suppose, that whoever calls on Ed, and they come one by one, everyone is abandoning him to his failed life but the effect is unnecessarily bitty.

In short Tuesday is an interesting hour and a half of theatre which showcases some excellent acting but there are problems in the play itself.

The text of Tuesday is published by Bloomsbury under its Methuen Drama imprint.

First published by Sardines White Bear Theatre-Tuesday&reviewsID=2647

Author information
Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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