REVIEW: ONE OF THOSE (Tristan Bates Theatre)

One of Those is the first play by Tom Ward-Thomas. It returns to the Tristan Bates Theatre for three weeks after a well-deserved sell out run last year.

Set on the long train journey from London to Cornwall, James and Laura, a couple of twenty-somethings from the opposite sides of London meet for the first time. In the next carriage, Philip, an older man, and Davina, a glamorous younger woman, are setting off for their first weekend together when Alice, Philip’s wife, enters the train.

The play is both sad and funny in turn; playing with the assumptions of the characters and the audience. James is ‘one of those’ public schoolboys living in Daddy’s flat in Battersea; Laura lives “off Brick Lane” and works as a PA at a hedge fund. Philip is a divorce lawyer having an affair with a client; Davina, recently divorced, enjoys the attentions of an older man. Alice, a wife and doting mother, is betrayed.

In the first scene we witness James and Laura’s first meeting and subsequent awkward conversation as they judge each other’s life choices. The second scene replays the same section of the journey in the carriage where Davina and Philip are discovered by Alice. The dulcet tones of the buffet car announcements place us in time in each scene with updates on the remaining sandwich selection.

Ward-Thomas, an actor before he was a playwright, is James. He is accompanied by a strong cast who present a convincing range of characters with interesting back stories. The sort of people you see on trains all the time.

The theatre is small and the set is simple. Four train seats, the outline of the train window and the luggage rack. This is a play all about conversations; these ones are well written and sustain interest for just over an hour’s dialogue with no interval. I wanted to stay longer with these characters to find out what happened next.

The last run of this play sold out and I see no reason why it should not do so again.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans