Nothing incidental about Incident at the Border
Incident at the Border is a little bit like Waiting For Godot but with a line.
In Kieran Lynn's new play girlfriend and boyfriend Olivia and Arthur are enjoying an afternoon in the park when the country is divided and they suddenly find themselves separated by some tape and a newly qualified and officious border guard.
Olivia (Florence Hall) likes to be part of things, know about stuff and get things done like grabbing the guards radio and threatening him with his stun gun. Arthur (Tom Bennett) likes a simple life, he's happy with not knowing, just going with the flow. He would love to be a duck.
Reiver the guard (Marc Pickering) is proud to have such an important job, to finally be someone and thinks it might get him a girlfriend. He does what he is told by his superior George who gives instructions via a radio.
And so at a park bench, by a duck pond the scene is set for a Godot-like, Kafkaesque farce that not only explores bureaucracy and authority but also takes a comic look at one couples relationship. And it is the latter which garners the most laughs, as the cracks in Olivia and Arthur's relationship begin to appear under the spotlight of the absurd situation they find themselves in.
There are a lot of laughs in Incident at the Border and it is very well done by the trio, if I was going to going to raise a slight negative then it would be that the male/female stereotypes as personified by Olivia and Arthur just occasionally grate. But it is only a minor grumble about what is otherwise a very well conceived and entertaining short play. I'll certainly be looking out for more of Lynn's work and indeed that of the cast and director Bruce Guthrie.
An Incident at the Border has transferred from the Finborough Theatre to Trafalgar Studios 2 where it runs until September 15 and I'm going to give it four and a half stars.