This deeply thought-provoking play shines a spotlight on the complex and conflicting thoughts that many “children of the sixties” must be having in the wake of the “Savile and others” investigations.
The generation that thought it had discovered a new morality and a new way to live, and seems now to have diluted and transmuted into a society with little or no moral compass, is left in scarifying questioning of what is or is not right, and what was or was not right.
The audience meets Kate and Richard, in their 60s, and their younger selves Kat and Rick in THE 60s, when the Summer of Love brought them together in dreams of a different future from that of their parents. Richard, a gentle, compassionate and thoughtful man, angry at the idea of victims of St Jim and those charged with rapes and assaults in the investigations that surround his antics, is faced with a dilemma. Did his wife’s one night of non-consensual sex (before she ever met him) make her a life-long victim?
And then there is the question of WHY she ever told him, knowing him as well as she does (We were so close we could have changed skins, she says).
This uncomfortable play, set to a perfectly chosen pop soundtrack, captures the essence of both the 60s and the present day, as Kate clings to her meditations and flowing floral skirts, but Richard has grown up, in his eyes anyway.
Brilliant performances by Paddy Navin and Olivia Dennis as Kate and Robert Myler and Vincent Enderby as Richard take the audience (to many of whom the 60s is ancient history) into the hearts and souls of the protagonists.
The first of the two plays, Rosie Finnegan’s My Big Fat TV Bitch, is a satire on the dog-eat-dog documentary exploration of “reality” TV.
Paddy Navin nails the ghastly and patronising presenter Glen, with all her hysterical hand gestures, to-camera grimacing and cod-psychology.
And Olivia Dennis balanced the naivety and truculence as the teenage Irish traveller who comes onto the programme to “tell it like it is” and ends up accidentally revealing the very thing about her life that would have delighted the makers of the fly-on-the-wall series in which she was one pawn.
It’s only a pity that these two excellent short plays by Somerset writers can’t get a wider audience – because this is the very time to see them. Nearly 24 hours later, we were still talking about them.
They continue at the Alma until Saturday 8th February.
Photographs Jose Navarro