Park Bench (Act Two) ★★★ Park Theatre | August 4 - 14, 2021


Park Bench is certainly a fascinating, original and innovative concept. Acts one and two not only taking place on different days, but one is streamed and the other played live in a theatre. We begin with a Zoom call between Liv and Theo, a young couple whose relationship broke up a year ago. After a chat lasting around fifteen minutes they agree to meet face to face at a favourite park bench. We now move to the theatre for their reunion. Much of the dialogue in Tori Allen-Martin's script has a very naturalistic feel to it which she as Liv and Tim Bowie as Theo deliver with realistic charm. Act two lasts a little under an hour and quite a lot of the time is spent on inconsequential chat about how they coped with lockdown. Would Theo really have watched The Crown and consider Meghan Markle "well fit"? It left us with the impression that Allen-Martin writes better for a female protagonist. The characters wander around a set that simply comprises a bench in a park. They chat, argue and come close to making up with the help of a favourite song, but finally, with no real resolution being reached, they simply gaze yearningly into the distance as the lights fade. No less than three directors were involved, Christa Harris (Act one), Sarah Henley and Timothy O'Hara (Act two), but do too many cooks spoil the broth? Not every play needs a beginning, middle and end, but here we felt that we just had the middle and were left wondering what happened next.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Mark Douet.

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