Goodnight Polly Jones -Theatre N16 Until 11th February

Goodnight Polly Jones – Theatre N16 Until 11th February 

★★★

Review By Sarah Tinsley

The issues this play deals with are profoundly important. Examining the hypocrisies, the power imbalance and the violent adherence to gendered stereotypes in the workplace is something that needs examining. In places, the chemistry between the characters was enticing and the dialogue spot on. Overall though, it was a little uneven.

​We meet Polly, a young businesswoman who seems insecure in her position of power. She’s interviewing a subordinate at EasyFoods, a chain store on the decline. She’s part of the accounting team that is trying to save it. There are hints at a previous connection between her and Peter, but it’s only as the play progresses that their complex and sordid past is revealed.

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Photo Credit Andreas Lambis

Ben Keenan, as Peter, pulls of the loveable rogue well, perhaps particularly in the central scene of the play, where his insecurities are challenged and he lashes out. He hides behind the hyper-masculine mask he has to put on to hide his shame at himself. The audience were left a little confused, as they should have been. To create empathy with someone who would conventionally be considered ‘a monster’ is a bold achievement. I found him a little too self-aware at the end, although that was perhaps as much to do with the script as the performance.

Victoria Morrison has a difficult role to play. Caught between worlds and unable to fit in any of them, she pays the ultimate price for her bravado and sexual confidence. This is a character type I would like to see again. We weren’t exactly encouraged to like her, she was pretty annoying, which actually made it all the more powerful when we shared in the horror of what she went through. She managed it, and the slight slip in sincerity will probably iron out after the first few shows.

​Light relief came in audible form, thanks to Oscar Garvin. The creation of a spoof jingle, the monotone of a warehouse announcer and the all-too-familiar cringe of an office karaoke session neatly glued the scenes together and were genuinely funny.

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Photo Credit Andreas Lambis

Where the play truly ignited was in the central scene. The subtext and emotion, the connection and awkwardness of both characters made for an uncomfortable and engaging portrayal. Unfortunately, in other places I found the script a little heavy-handed.

There’s no doubt that the play carries an incredibly important message, and I hope that more productions will be bold enough to tackle such thorny issues in order to bring them to a wider debate.

Goodnight Polly Jones – Theatre N16 until 11th February 

★★★

Review By Sarah Tinsley

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