Review - Again at Trafalgar Studios

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Monday, 12 February, 2018
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Stephanie Jacob, the actress turned playwright whose has appeared on the stages of the National Theatre and as a writer-on-attachment there, too, tells us in a programme note that she'd been planning on writing a play about families for years, and that "last year I suddenly had an idea for the structure of the piece - which might evoke the restless movement between past and present and future - and be fun to watch.... It was a long, infuriating muddle of a struggle to try and get it right!"

The play that has resulted, Again, is actually pretty short, but it is sometimes an infuriating muddle of a struggle to watch. That "structure" she hit on feels intensely derivative of the plays of prolific French playwright Florian Zeller or Nick Payne's Constellations, which similarly flirt and tease with different versions of the same scene being played out in sequence.

It all disguises what is, in other respects, an otherwise mostly conventional feeling family drama, in which a pair of divorced parents and their adult children reunite after a period of long estrangement.

There is nevertheless some pleasure to be had from watching the finely calibrated performances of a cast led by Chris Larkin and Natasha Little as the parents and Rosie Day and Charles Reston as their now independent children, but still reverting to type (and old shared jokes and hostilities) back in the family home.

At just 70 minutes, it feels both undernourished but also long enough: you don't really want to spend any longer with them - but perhaps you would if you knew them better.

Click here to read our interview with Rosie Day.

Again is at Trafalgar Studios until 3rd March.

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