REVIEW: THERE OR HERE (Park Theatre) ★

Special Relationship Productions brings There or Here to the acclaimed Park Theatre for a run which lasts just under a month. The play follows a couple scratching at the surface of an American Dream. Robyn (Lucy Fenton) has cancer, which was not scheduled into the life plan for her and husband, Ajay (Chris Nayak) when wanting kids. They decide to freeze her eggs and fly to India for a more affordable surrogacy strategy. But where money blinds and trust relapses, the couple end up in a heart-breaking situation.

The premise of outsourcing surrogacy is an intriguing one to explore and one which, if done correctly, holds great potential to bring to the surface testimonies of couples longing for a family and the halting financial barriers imposed on them. Jennifer Maisel’s writing, cluttered in one-liner gags, seems never to capture the real weight behind the subject. The couple are in a disastrous predicament, but a lack of tone and pacing jumbles the comedy in too deeply with the plot, making for a confused performance.

The actors struggle through the monologue-heavy script with mediocre performances. A few accent slips and forgetting lines multiple times, is frustrating to see and takes us out of the action. A performance which stood out for its efficiency in comparison, is Manish Gandhi’s portrayal of Rajit and Raj, despite having the smallest part in the play.

There or Here feels unpolished and aloof. Perhaps certain elements will improve further into the run but as London’s Fringe Theatre stands in all its broad vibrancy, work such as this simply can’t compete.

Reviewed by Nicole Darvill-Batten
Photo: Ikin Yum


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