Dinner with Associates, Golden Goose Theatre – There Ought To Be Clowns

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A quartet of robust performances mitigate a lot of the smugness of Donald Margulies writing in Dinner with Associates on the Golden Goose Theatre in Camberwell

“One awful handjob might have saved your marriage”

Entrance Foot Theatre mounted a very emotionally devastating manufacturing of Rabbit Gap earlier this yr so I used to be intrigued to see what they might make of one other Pulitzer Prize-winning play in Donald Margulies’ 1998 drama Dinner with Associates. Reality be informed, I’d forgotten I’d seen the play earlier than, on the Park Theatre again in 2015 however given I wasn’t a lot of a fan of it then, who is aware of if I’d’ve booked in! 

Margulies revels in his portrait of smug middle-class heteronormativity, two comfortably well-off {couples} who need to take care of the fallout when one among them splits and the friendships between all of them are subsequently examined. Gabe and Karen are filled with the thrill of their Italian vacation however when Beth breaks down at a welcome dinner again as husband Tom is away with work, it’s clear there’s greater than the denseness of the polenta cake to fret about.

A part of Margulies’ thesis is about the way in which through which data is relayed in conditions like these. Tom is gutted that Beth broke the information with out him because it now implies that she is irrevocably in command of the narrative. And as we skip round in time, means again to the start of their relationship as Karen introduces the pair, there’s one thing of a research of how even picture-perfect marriages – and friendships – are not often every little thing they appear on the floor.

I’d argue although that the development of the play works towards an attention-grabbing journey for these characters. Having set the narrative up on their closeness, the following obvious atomisation of the group doesn’t ring true as character developments are delivered through exposition dumps as in the event that they’re strangers. A florid flip of phrase heightens this sense of artificiality which has an sadly alienating impact at instances.  

The saving grace is available in Lawrence Carmichael’s manufacturing which tries its greatest to play up the lightness within the play. A mind-boggling eclectic rating accompanies motion interludes that talk to the little moments that make up a lot of a relationship. And a top quality forged work extra time to deliver plausible emotionality to the script within the moments the place they will.

Helen Rose-Hampton and Jason Wilson as Karen and Gabe look on sorrowfully because the influence of their buddy’s divorce ripples via their very own marriage (Wilson is especially efficient). And Julia Papp and Kim Hardy every shine as they toil via that emotional wreckage to hopefully get to the opposite facet. I stay largely unconvinced that Margulies’ play has something substantive to say in regards to the real complexities of relationships however Entrance Foot Theatre and their manufacturing right here definitely do.

Operating time: 2 hours (with interval)
Picture: David Monteith-Hodge Pictures
Dinner with Associates is reserving on the Golden Goose Theatre till twenty sixth November

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