In this original work by The Reaction Theory, Owen Green takes the lead as Hayden, a foster kid who works as a waiter at a restaurant which prides itself on sharing stories each night. On this particular night, it’s his turn to share a story, as a result of him being triggered by serving a woman who looks suspiciously alike the picture of his real mum in his wallet. In the program, playwright Egan-Sun-Bin says that it was inspired by true events, however there is no further information about what this event was, which as an audience member I would have loved to know about.
Callum Ford’s direction was fantastic. The way in which the work was staged and the layout of the space as a restaurant, meant that we were enthralled in the characters’ world from before the show even started. The characters came to take our orders, wipe our tables clean and asked us what we wanted to order. It made us feel like we were a part of Hayden’s story and hence, we had a much more intimate performance with Green, who shone in his character. Actors Sarah Jarvis and Dimitri Politis jumped in and out of characters with such ease that it was a joy to watch.
For the debut work of a new collective, it has its merits. However, for me, it missed the mark. The performance was let down by the many abrupt changes in the script, which broke the rapport between the audience and performers. The audience were often bombarded with tasks to do and questions to answer to the extent that it broke the flow of the narrative and at times made the characters feel very cliché. For my preference, if you want to break the fourth wall, then it has to be a controlled, stylistic choice rather than adding it in for more flavor, as it results in the audience being thrown out of the narrative and struggling to find their way back in. And as someone who has friends who have been in the foster system and who are foster parents, it was unfortunately clear the lack of research that went into creating this script. Again, no research process other than the aforementioned inspired event was listed, which could be why I found it difficult to see the characters as real human beings.
An interesting work from a young company that shows promise, and is supported by excellent direction and performances, but is unfortunately flawed by the over enthusiasm of the scriptwriter and the lack of research.
Virag Dombay saw The Waiting Game on Saturday 18 May 2019 as part of Anywhere Theatre Festival.
Presented by The Reaction Theory
Director | Callum Ford
Image | Angel Cenia Lindig