Writer: Ana-Maria Bamberger
Director: Lydia Parker
The play commences with a scene reminiscent of Bridget Jones, featuring a woman in distress on the floor of her living room. The tone, whether tragic or comedic, remains uncertain as the drama unfolds with the sudden arrival of a peculiar yet charming doctor at her flat in the early hours.
Marissa is what she would call herself a ‘failing’ actress and Victor is what others would consider a successful doctor. As their story gradually unfolds, it unravels layers of their shared experiences as ‘people who have won and lost,’ as poignantly expressed by Marissa herself. This interesting combination of personalities and professions opens up questions about the parallels between art and science. No more seen as when the characters share their painful situations and subsequently question whether ‘reality beats art’, again in the words of Marissa.
Tracey Ann Wood’s performance of Marissa gives a convincing notion of the highs and lows this character feels and could be likened to a modern-day Eve (All About Eve). Charlie Buckland’s Victor is reserved and nicely complements the teary and infantile Marissa. The captivating interplay between the characters, weaving a complex cat-and-mouse dynamic, is accentuated by Lydia Parker’s adept direction, as showcased through the effective utilization of the stage.
Despite the detailed acting, at times, the writing feels repetitive, causing a notable slowdown in the narrative’s pace. Furthermore, there is a distinct sense of purpose behind the storytelling. The initial mystery of the relationship between the characters is enough to sustain the play through some twists and turns but the lack of direction in the narrative leaves the audience questioning what they should think or feel, if anything.
Matt Hockley’s lighting design has an effective use of blues, lilacs and reds whose colour palette well matches the set design and also enhances the narrative’s nuances as it transitions alongside the characters. This is well matched with Odinn Orn Hilmarsson’s composition, skillfully bookending each scene, adding depth to the production’s emotional landscape.
Despite its promising title, One Whole Night falls short of delivering the comprehensive theatrical experience needed for a truly fulfilling play, leaving the audience wanting more depth and purpose.
Runs until 2 December 2023