The Here and This and Now, Southwark Playhouse

By guest critic Lara Alier

As I walk to my seat my feet sink in grey carpet. On stage four people sit in what it looks like an office. One of the characters, a man in a suit, tells us how one day he didn’t go to work and stayed at home in order to spend time with his family. 

Simon Darwen ́s impecable portrayal of this wannabe Wolf of Canary Wharf is the beginning of a series of monologues performed by the other 3 characters. Other scenes, interlaced with incomprehensible transitions, evoke questions on the realities of their lives. My natural skepticism prevents me from fully surrendering and completely enjoying this piece. Yet the actors lure me into joining a symphony of laughter, which is already worth the whole price of the entrance. Without concessions.

This play submerges us in the ruthless corporate world, exploring how it cunningingly exploits more personal attitutes and touching stories. Taking advantage of the human need for connecting with others seems to be a powerful money-maker. But do we buy into it?

We are rushed into 2024. Becci Gemmel unapologetically masters the second half, throwing us into a dark narrative. Could this second half be a play on its own? Probably. Yet the grand finale is yet to come. There is no need to bombard us with strenuous music, or a pompous lighting display. We are given a chance to rest on our thoughts, to be carefully fed with a beautiful piece of visual poetry. My whole body relaxes, cradled like a baby by the excellent writing and directing choices.

To anyone looking to watch more plays this 2018, this will surely make you hungry for theatre.

The Here and This and Now runs through 10 February.

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