Ana-Maria Bamberger's play One Whole Night, White Bear Theatre, could easily be subtitled 'Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown'. It centres on Marisa (Tracey Ann Wood), a stage actress of note whose director boyfriend of 10 years has just dumped her for a young actress they are both working with.
She's not in a good state and is drinking heavily, having heart palpitations and suicidal thoughts, so she calls a doctor. By the time Victor (Charlie Buckland), the doctor, arrives, she's in a state of self-pity and watching herself cry in the mirror.
While Victor is checking over Marisa and administering calming drugs, she recognises him as someone she was at school with. So they end up reminiscing and comparing notes on their lives.
It turns out Victor has work and relationship stresses of his own.
But this isn't a story of two people at a low ebb coming through together rather, the friendly conversation leads Marisa to believe that Victor is the answer to all her woes and they are meant to be together.
It results in some very awkward moments.
Marisa isn't the easiest character to spend time with. There is amusement in watching her carefully positioning herself in an attractive yet dramatic collapse on the floor, but she quickly becomes obsessive and delusional.
She is blinkered in her pursuit of what is clearly not there, and the second and third acts play out with the same mistakes. Marisa seemingly does not learn anything.
One Night Only is well-performed, but my sympathies leaned towards Victor rather than Marisa, despite what she'd been through.
Marisa's character arc isn't sufficiently defined, and ultimately, the play seems to run out of its initial crop of good ideas.
I'm giving One Night Only ⭐️⭐️⭐️
One Night Only, White Bear Theatre
Written by Ana-Maria Bamberger
Directed by Lydia Parker
Starring Tracey Ann Wood and Charlie Buckland
Running time: 75 minutes without an interval.
Booking until 2 December; for more details and to buy tickets, visit the White Bear Theatre website.
This was a review ticket.
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