Review by: Paul Towers, 26 October 2017
The Leftovers by Nic Harvey and Rob Green
Sheep Soup Productions & Curve presentation
Curve 26 – 28th October 2017
“The Leftovers. I am unimpressed”
According to the promotional programme handed out The Leftovers ‘in the confines of a community recording studio, friends of the late Jodie gather to record .. something. What would she have wanted? What kind of music best represents her, honours her? The boundaries of artistic license and ‘appropriate’ responses to grief are tested, as The Leftovers search for their own roads towards moving on’.
What we got was a directionless text linking some original songs which, in another context, would have been noteworthy. The title, The Leftovers, is entirely appropriate. This is a collection of leftover songs strung together with a lacklustre script.
A play or musical should grab the audience’s attention and connect with them within the first ten minutes. By the time the interval came round I still couldn’t have cared less about the characters or the story.
There is a line early on spoken by one of the actors about a song which says ‘the writer should know what it is trying to say’. I concur.
I felt like I was eavesdropping on a group of friends but I don’t know any of them. They are chatting in that shorthand that long time friends have which excludes strangers to a greater degree because you don’t know the back story. Throughout the narrative a certain section of the audience, probably friends and families, was laughing uproariously while the rest of us sat in silence, once again reinforcing the feeling that we were on the outside looking in and not understanding what was going on.
Right from the start we are expected to empathise with the loss of someone we don’t know. By the time we have been let into enough aspects of her character it is too late. Apathy has set in.
The actors’ voices are great. They can certainly sing. There is no doubt about that. And they can deliver lines. Ben Welch as Jim, the sound engineer is the strongest actor and singer but they all have very little to work with when they are not singing. It is such a waste of talent.
I saw their previous production, Mrs Green, in 2015 and that was infinitely better.
The Leftovers is at Curve until Saturday 28th October www.curveonline.co.uk
First published on Western Gazette