Friday, 1 March 2013
Theatre review: A Time to Reap
Max Jones' set is a striking thrust set into the Upstairs theatre, a sort-of church that hangs over the actions of the atheist Jan, bisexual Piotr and most of all the one character who retains a faith, the guilt-stricken Marysia.
This is a very strong trio performing in Caroline Steinbeis' production, which for a while looks promising as we get to know the characters, their hangups, and the way the Church's involvement in the State affects the lives of even those who wish to have nothing to do with it. Teale projects some of the older-man charm that causes Marysia to be so in thrall to Jan despite realising she doesn't actually like him much; Bennett's attraction as Piotr is of a much more reckless, dangerous kind; and Matthews' powerful performance as the woman with numerous outside influences telling her what to do with her body, emotionally anchors the production.
But the creatives' efforts can only mask the material's shortcomings for so long, and as A Time to Reap goes on and descends into sometimes turgid melodrama, it loses focus and, I'm afraid, my interest.
A Time to Reap by Anna Wakulik in a version by Catherine Grosvenor is booking until the 23rd of March at the Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Upstairs.
Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes straight through.