by Lara Alier
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is a feast for all five senses. From feeling the early summer breeze in your face, to smelling the woodiness of the gigantic trees that surround the stage, it’s all a treat, really. It’s such a delight that it almost became more seductive than the play.
The story is set in the early 20th Century, in a little American town called Grover’s Corners. We are shown snapshots of the daily life of its citizens, whilst a character who is the stage manager conducts the different scenes. This character talks straight to the audience, confronting us with uncomfortable questions about our tiny existences. This meta-theatrical device is a great way to highlight how humans trap themselves in little worlds which, at the same time, are inside other little worlds.
The casting of this play is on point in this ensemble piece. All of the actors created a beautiful puzzle of different personalities, dynamics and ages that really make their performance shine as a whole. It is refreshing to go to the theatre and see people on stage that one can relate with.
Nevertheless, the text itself is quite outdated. When a play actively wants to expose an issue or raise awareness, I am the first person to laugh at sexist jokes or any kind of dark humour. But this play doesn’t try to make any sort of commentary regarding the role of the women in marriage, so as a 21st century woman, there are certain aspects of the script I would only like to see in a museum.
However, it’s quite a pleasant evening in the theatre. Choose someone you have lots of fun with to join you to make light of the story’s shortcomings.
Our Town runs through 8 June in London.
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Tickets provided by www.londonboxoffice.co.uk.