Wednesday, 19 February 2003

Somewhere Along the Way, Telia Nevile , Feb 19, 2003

Somewhere Along the Way  by Telia Nevile  

La Mama, Feb 19 to March 2, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

"How did it come about that all that remained of so much life was little squares of stained paper with pictures on?"

This quote from Captain Corelli's Mandolin  refers to photos and their ability to capture moments from the past and to trigger memories. Recollections of a past relationship are the basis of the short play, Somewhere Along the Way,  written and directed by Telia Nevile.

The performance has no linear narrative. It is a series of snapshots of a young couple (Clare Reynolds, OK Matt Kelly). Time is elastic.  We move backward and forward in time, seeing them at the beginning, middle and end of their coupledom.

We even see vignettes of their post-relationship accidental and uncomfortable meetings. The play begins with them happily ensconced in their relationship, puzzling over unfamiliar photos from their common past.

This is a gentle piece that does not challenge or confront us. It moves from one brief scene to another. Information about the pair trickles out over the forty minutes.

There is no attempt to make the characters substantial or to provide us with details of their time together. It is a sketch of the journey of a couple from meeting to parting. This leaves the piece a little unsatisfying and thin in parts.  But the performances are charming.

Kelly has an engaging, sometimes quirky manner. He manages to make the gauche young man both maddening and endearing. Both Kelly and Reynolds have a naturalness and warmth that draws us into the story. 

Nevile concentrates on the notion of memory. She draws parallels between memory and a jigsaw puzzle.  Piece is often missing.

The director employs some simple theatrical devices.  She uses back-lit screens, repeated scenes with variations in mood and repetitive movement sequences to show the demise of the relationship.

The piece is effective in many ways. Its weaknesses are in the lack of depth of the narrative and characters, the repetition and the jumpiness of the short scenes.

By Kate Herbert

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