Same But Different, The

  • 14 August 2006

This article is from 2006.

There are four story strands and nine characters in this new play by Jacob Tindle, a runner-up in the Old Vic, New Voices writing competition.

This is about a large and dysfunctional family. Mother is having an affair with a lodger under the nose of her husband. One son won’t commit to a relationship. Another will announce he is gay and the third son drugs his one-night stand and ties her up in the shed.

The love triangle, with its Pinteresque air of menace and black comedy, and the son who drugs to find love, are the most engaging and unusual of the mini-dramas. More space could be found for them at the expense of the other two, both of which cover familiar ground and sit awkwardly with the quirky tone of the rest.

There is little on-stage action, minimal plotting and therefore the dialogue and characterisation have to carry the narrative through. Most of the time this works very well and there are a number of sharp one-liners which, with a bigger audience, would have gone down extremely well.

The off-stage voice of a TV naturalist is a clever and central device as it weaves its way in and out of all of the mini-dramas. The writer doesn’t take us on an involved journey with his characters in this play. Instead, he holds up a mirror to us as human beings, illustrates how far we have not travelled from our primate ancestry, and lets us decide how flattering we find our image. (Alistair Rutherford)

Pleasance Dome, until 28 Aug (not 14), 6.50pm.

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