Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions (4 stars)

This article is from 2012

Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions

Marvellous quintet of short plays with excellent performances

Isn’t self-consciousness a ball-ache? It ups the ante, rather, as if all eyes are on you and you’re barely making sense, let alone delivering the goods, and you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, you’re not meeting your potential or matching the past and, to top it all off, your trousers have fallen down.

Thankfully American playwright Will Eno is at hand with these five precision-honed shorts, each an eloquent metaphor for existential angst, capable of raising both spirits and smiles. There’s a sports coach facing the press after a dismal season, personally and professionally; an airline spokesperson offering bereaved relatives awkward sympathy after an accident; and two lonely hearts recording dating videos and tentatively testing the waters of the big, wide world.

Eno’s texts are delicious – witty and wise – and Erica Whyman’s production does them real credit. Classily staged on a suspended platform, itself seemingly hanging in the balance, it boasts superb performances from Tony Bell, John Kirk and, in particular, Lucy Ellinson. Frank, funny and consoling, this is pretty much what theatre’s for.

Northern Stage at St Stephen’s, 558 3047, until 25 Aug, 6.40pm, £14 (£10).

Oh, The Humanity and Other Good Intentions

  • 4 stars

A bunch of people with something on their mind. A coach with an awkward confession to make. A spokeswoman who doesn’t know what to say. A man and a woman who want to fall in love, but aren’t sure how. Oh, and these people want to take your picture, so just act natural, ok? Sharp, witty and playful, these five very short…

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