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The Other Place review: Crooked Dances

Crooked Dances, The Other Place, Stratford, to July 13. “Time drags, time hurries by” – a line from this play where unfortunately time seemed to go very slowly indeed. It was a shame as near the end of the second half there were some beautiful sound and visual moments, which we expect from the RSC, and a shocking one which showed how this could have been a great play, but sadly it isn’t. The plot follows obnoxiously ambitious journalist Katy and laddish photographer Nick as they travel to Paris to interview ageing concert pianist Silvia De Zingaro at her request. They find out she’s suddenly done a flit to her remote country home surrounded by wolves, and they follow her. They are thrown when their phones and laptops don’t work, and in the interview Silvia keeps quiet about her personal life, to Katy’s annoyance, while expressing her hatred of the “disconnection” caused by people being constantly on their phones. Katy and Nick miss their train back and have to stay the night - and as the wolves howl outside, things start to take a more supernatural turn. Sadly Silvia’s long monologues on the evils of the internet, manipulation of time and her obsession, composer Erik Satie, go on too long and although Ruth Lass performs well they are just not interesting enough to hold the attention. Ben Onwukwe is solid as her protective manager. Jeany Spark is recognisable as the journalist desperate for her big break but as she rummages through Silvia’s bag and asks crass questions it’s not a believable character. And Olly Mott’s Nick also seems very much a stereotype rather than a real person. Writer Robin French has had many successes, but although this contains signs of good ideas and themes there are too many negatives for it to work. For tickets to go:

Pictures by Ellie Kurttz (c) RSC

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