Review: Absolute Hell (or absolute heaven?), National Theatre
Review: Ben Chaplin and Séana Kerslake in Mood Music, Old Vic

Review: A two note singing lesson in The Swallow, Cervantes Theatre

The tension and drama just don't fully develop which is a real shame

A singing lesson is in progress. The singer, Ray (David Luque), isn’t the most talented and the stern teacher Emily (Jeryl Burgess) doesn’t want to take him on.

2F3A6671Emily is frosty and adamant but Ray gets her to empathise with his situation and she relents.

However, it quickly becomes obvious that Ray isn't being completely honest, that something deeper connects these two people and the truth will inevitably out.

Differing views

Early on Ray and Emily are looking at an old photo and have differing views on what it captured, what is behind the looks and expressions of the people pictured.

The individual lenses through which we see and interpret the world is a recurring theme but it also explores how we focus the lens and what we choose to see. 

What binds the two characters together is a tragedy and it becomes a story of the nature of love and loss and of prejudice.

2F3A6781Impact lessened

Their connection is unpacked but the signposts are obvious and you find yourself waiting impatiently for the characters to catch up.

Neither is there a gentle build up of emotional intensity. What we get is a series of heated and charged exchanges tagged to each new revelation followed by moments of reconciliation or regret.

It makes for a tonally two note play, giving the actors little room for manoeuvre and diminishing its impact.

Become immune

Given the subject matter, there should be plenty to empathise with, to tug at the heartstrings but instead, there is too much that is overplayed and you become immune to the emotion.

The tension and drama just don't fully develop which is a real shame.

It is at the Cervantes Theatre in Southwark until May 26 and is part of the new Spanish playwriting season with some performances in English and some in Spanish.