EFR - Reviews of One Month Early

One Month Early

Wed 15th – Sat 18th August 2012

reviews

Lucinda Higgie

at 04:54 on 18th Aug 2012

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'One Month Early' can't be criticised for lacking in polish. The turn-of-the-century costumes are exquisite (with the exception of Monsieur de Champrinet's (James Rowson) talcum-powdered grey hair, which billows out in smoky gusts, and continues right down the back of his coat), the dialogue is delivered at a quick-fire rate and the dinner table has been perfectly laid out.

The cast is clearly made up of good actors who conduct themselves professionally but the absence of a sense of the absurd or of a playful clownishness means that their efforts go to waste. It is difficult to like any of the characters without it. Mediocre titters were elicited from its audience, but not much more. Rather than just booming out their lines (my ears were ringing afterwards) the audience needs the actors to loosen up and have a little more fun with their parts.

This said, the play itself doesn't do the cast many favours. The programme points out that 'One Month Early' is 'an infrequently staged play' and this production led me to conclude that there might be a reason for its rarity. It is not developed enough to be called a farce (the misunderstandings comprise a drag queen pretending to be a midwife and making up false terminology) and it manages to run out of steam with many of its elements – including the eponymous one - unresolved and half-baked. Nevertheless, the production would improve infinitely with less strait-laced, more risky performances.

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Helena Blackstone

at 10:38 on 18th Aug 2012

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'One Month Early' is a farce. All of the actors are of a good standard: James Shelton-Smith is a suitably spoilt as the uninterested husband and Roz Ellis is perfectly painful as his spoilt and uninteresting wife. Magali Swift-Clemence is a wonderfully coy maid, although I did not know what joke we were meant to be in upon, having gleaned its existence only from the strange knowing expressions she kept giving us. The audience ought to be able to see the misunderstandings and the hidden feelings or situational issues which, if they were only revealed, would resolve the misunderstandings and thus eliminate the drama. In this production, however, we are not given much insight into the genuine feelings of the characters, or what we do get does not seem to make much sense. However, I still wonder why the characters do not simply stop what they are doing and communicate with one another. If they would, I’m sure events would go much more smoothly for them and there would be no nonsensical arguments about whether or not to put a chamber pot on one’s head.

But in all seriousness, the direction could have introduced some variation to the tone of the play, if only for the sake of my ears (the shrieking!). The whole production is of the same monotone of indignant rage. This would be a criticism for any play, not just for a farce. To feel anything there must be progression, or at least variation. In my opinion these actors could do with so much better a play to work with, but they could also have been worked to their full potential and range of acting skills.

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