Bad Nights and Odd Days ★★★★ Greenwich Theatre | June 23 - July 10, 2021


Bad Nights and Odd Days is a long evening of short plays. Dating from 1971 to 1980, the four fascinating pieces by Caryl Churchill are supremely well acted under James Haddrell's tight direction. In Seagulls, Churchill explores the effect of unwanted celebrity on the telekinetic Valerie who cannot cope with fame. This is an excellent portrayal from Kerrie Taylor. Put simply, Three More Sleepless Nights sees two couples suffering relationship turmoil. Churchill's signature overlapping dialogue appears here, and performers Paul McGann and, especially, Gracy Goldman excel; meanwhile, Dan Gaisford, as Pete, wibbles on about the plot of Alien seemingly unaware that Dawn (Verna Vyas) is disintegrating beside him. The third play, Abortive, doesn't quite delve deeply enough into its subject of abortion after rape, although McGann (Colin) and Taylor (Roz) again give outstanding performances. Finally, Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen sees Churchill in an unusual foray into futuristic fantasy. Written for radio in 1971, this piece is remarkably prescient about the dangers of destroying humanity with excessive pollution. Gaisford shines as tragic father, Mick, while Bonnie Baddoo as daughter, Claudia, is resigned to her fate. However, it is Verna Vyas as Vivian who dominates with her strange jabbering speech patterns and restive physicality. Churchill always creates believable characters with real backstories and here, in plays written when life was so very different, she is already a master of her craft. This is a surprisingly rewarding evening thanks to Haddrell and his company who allow these unfamiliar works space to develop.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Lidia Crisafulli.

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