Waiting for Lefty ★★★★★ Two Lines Productions (online) | May 18-23, 2021


Two Lines Productions' superb presentation of Clifford Odet's 1935 one act play, Waiting for Lefty, demonstrates how well Zoom can be used to present a concise play such as this. Odet's agitprop, anti-capitalist piece was written at the height of the US Depression and lies somewhere between Eugene O'Neill and David Mamet. The format of several interrelated vignettes involves eight different locations and, as the play is presented live, this is fraught with pitfalls; here, everything works seamlessly. Director, Phil Cheadle, consciously chooses to discombobulate the audience by having the anachronistic use of mobile phones and face masks while retaining the 1935 ambience of the dialogue. This is an obvious ploy to draw comparisons between poorly paid workers of the 1930s and our current plight in the aftermath of the pandemic. Are we treating key workers today in the same way as back in the 1930s? It works very well with just a couple of stumbles. Each of the cast of ten has their moment in the spotlight and performance after performance hits the mark; it would be invidious to single out any individual. Although it is patently shot in the actors' living rooms, the production has the feel of a well produced play for television. This is naturally a very political piece of theatre which passionately condemns capitalism; one doesn't need to agree with every sentiment to admire its achievement. One's overall remaining feeling is that with absolute passion these 'storm birds of the working class' should 'strike.'

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Zoe Leonard.

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