By Michael Spring
Different Theatre’s production ‘So You Say’ is a bright two hander that lasts just about an hour. Written and directed by Sam Chittenden, it focuses on a reunion (or perhaps many reunions) between couples who have separated and drifted apart some years ago, and the almost magnetic desire we seem to have to ‘find out what happened to them’.
That desire was evident a few years ago with the almost overnight success of ‘Friends Reunited’, a success that, at the time, was also linked to increasing divorce rates as sweethearts from years back met and seemed to want to quickly throw over the traces of more recent relationships. That same curiosity, willingness to forget the problems and fundamental weaknesses of past relationships, as well as the ability to pursue a hopelessly optimistic rewriting of personal histories, that fuels this drama about ordinary people.
Charly Sommers is Jennifer, once the partner of Russell Shaw’s Ollie, who emails him out of the blue after 15 years to suggest a meeting. Thereafter, the many potential scenarios are played out in a number of short scenes – some of which involve no speech whatever – that illustrate the range of potential outcomes. From alternately reciting alphabetical lists of the bands they saw ‘back then’, to bristling hatred, from realising that they were always soulmates to a possibly one-sided realisation that things would never have worked between them.
The couple are engaging, likeable, and all too typical. The script is quite demanding – at times both individuals speak their own counterpointed monologues – and nicely performed.
If an investigation of the potential of revisting the past is what you’re looking for, then this tight and intimate performance will do very well. If it has a weakness, it is that in searching out and exploring likely common denominators amongst reuniting couples, it becomes not specific and personal enough.
So you say is on Friday 18 August and Saturday 19 August 2017 at 6.15pm at the Tristan Bates Theatre, as part of Camden Fringe. Click here for tickets.
Camden Fringe is at various venues until Sunday 27 August. For a full programme and tickets for other shows visit the website www.camdenfringe.com.