Waiting for Wonderland

Friday, 27 August, 2010

Camden Fringe – Etcetera Theatre, 20th August 2010 6pm (45 mins)

Left to Right: Callum Patrick Hughes (Chris), David Mowbray (Nick)

On one of the warmer August evenings of the Camden fringe, the small tightly packed Etcetera Theatre became the setting for ”Waiting for Wonderland”. The title of this new, original two-handed play, written by Rose Bruford graduate Richard J Loftus, cut across the wide range of social groups represented in the full capacity house.

The show in a black box setting opened with a pre-set of the two characters on two metal chairs. Callum Patrick Hughes as Chris and David Mowbray as Nick, portrayed two twenty-something gay men.

The characters were dressed in everyday wear; jeans, t-shirts and simple shirts, neither dull or flamboyant and not catering to the sterotype. The fast paced show started with a slight first night technical stutter, but was soon speeding along the information highways. The sound level was good, as was the delivery, making the content clear and audible. A simple lighting rig, used to add a time dimension to the scenes, gave a warm glow to the stage enabling subtle nuances to be seen.

The action alternated between “Twitter” tweets with @Nick replying to @Chris’ postings, with a speed of excution only rivalled by the fibres used to transmit tweets; and the “Narration” (in this case the characters thoughts), which served to enlighten the language and hidden meanings with a good degree of subtle comedy, which often caused a flurry of laughter in response.

Director Hayley Richards, assisted by Disa Stefans, also Rose Bruford graduates, used a minimalist approach. A simple staging device of moving the proximiny of the chairs, positioning them according to the action and psychology behind the mood, kept this two handed show on its toes.

The strength of this show was that the script had been directed to allow interpretation, through expression and body language by the two very capable young undergraduate actors; They both gave believable performances, steering their throughts to highlight a mirad of emotions and at times evoke memories. The tension created in moments of the play was almost audible and served to communicate the online relationship.

Whilst this method of modern communication can be challenging for many, “Waiting for Wonderland” showed simply how it has embeded itself into our society to such an extent that flirting takes place just as if the object of your desires is there with you. It seemed to appeal to all, regardless of age and social type, giving an insight to this modern communication and one of its uses. The only fault was a rather ambigious and seemingly quick ending, which caused puzzlement to some, but maybe that’s what the writer intended –to make us wait for an answer?

A play for all generations and genders, a most enjoyable watch.

Cast: Callum Patrick Hughes as Chris; David Mowbray as Nick

Crew: Director – Hayley Richards; Assistant Director – Disa Stefans; Writer: Richard J Loftus (@rjloftus)

(c) Katherine-Lucy Bates 2010

Friday 20th August 2010

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