Friday, 1 April 2016
Non-review: The Fifth Column
The trouble is that despite bombs going off outside the hotel and assassination attempts inside it, Hemingway is more interested in showing us Rawlings - a gruff, hard-drinking author substitute - lounging with Dorothy and stealing her from under Preston's nose for the first half hour. This also leads Anita (Sasha Frost,) delightfully described in the character notes as "a Moorish tart," to go off on many a possessive rant at him for choosing the blonde over her.
Even as the real reason he's there starts to be teased out of the story, the script has no life in it, and despite a charming turn from Darwen to balance out the unlikeable lead, Tricia Thorns' production doesn't convince that Hemingway's play hasn't languished in obscurity for good reason. Perhaps the second act would have revealed intrigues that redeemed the play but I wasn't convinced enough to risk it, and cut my losses at the interval.
The Fifth Column by Ernest Hemingway is booking until the 16th of April at Southwark Playhouse's Large Theatre.
Running time: Advertised as 2 hours 40 minutes including interval.
Photo credit: Tristram Kenton