Eigengrau 1.8.18

It’s self-evident that a great play can be ruined by a below-par cast – no doubt we all have any number of examples in our memories. But the reverse is also true, as New Light Production’s staging of Penelope Skinner’s Eigengrau at Greenwich Theatre proved. The play calls itself an urban fairytale and follows the romantic adventures of four people living in London. It’s full of truly terrific comic one-liners – so full, in fact, that there’s almost no time left for the narrative. As for the characters, they were little more than ciphers – and walking cliché ciphers at that. But despite the problems, the cast – directed by Aoife Smyth – was absolutely tremendous, with Joseph Holdroyd as granny-fixated saddo Tim, Katharine Hardman as ultra-feminist Cassie, Joseph McCarthy as misogynist Mark and Robyn Wilson as fantasist Rose giving it their all and ensuring the audience had plenty to enjoy. And I must pay tribute to Katharine Davies-Herbst’s set. In an era when sets tend to be minimalist in the extreme, hers made a significant contribution to creating an authentic atmosphere for the drama.

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