FringeReview UK 2017
Waiting for Curry arrives for the Hove Grown festival at Sweet Dukeobox, via CAM Productions and Twilight Theatre. Susanne Crosby writes, directs, lights and designs the show too.
Susanne Crosby’s Waiting for Curry – a title suggested by friends as they indeed waited for a takeaway – arrives for the Hove Grown Festival at Sweet Dukebox, via CAM Productions and Twilight Theatre. Crosby directs, lights and designs the show too.
Two couples uncorking the wine waiting for a takeaway – the clue’s in the title. Progressively the vino veritas un-ballasted by food leads to revelations, hidden couplings and reveals as the night blunders into truth. Was this someone’s plan?
Kerri frost’s uptight coping but emotionally inarticulate accountant Chris hosts not only Sue and Phil, more her husband Rob’s friends than hers, but it seems her husband too. They’re no longer quite a team after eight years. Rob, like Sue it seems, is more materially focused, though as we see Sue’s chiming in sympathy more than anything else. As idealist Chris finds more kin in dull dependable Phil, the Care home manager, you do wonder if the couples are indeed ill-assorted and might be better off paring differently by the end of the evening. But it’s a more complex play, even if indeed it hinges on rekindled attraction between Sue and Rob, and the reasons Rob honourably withdrew so many years back. For Sue he’s the one. For Rob, it’s not so certain. Matt Grief deftly layers a far more complex role than his initial gruff materialism lets on.
Crosby’s particular achievement lies in characterising four distinct individuals whose motivations – revealed in four monologues as the others freeze – show none of them shallow but awkward and less articulate when interacting. Rob in particular finds it difficult to navigate his drunk exterior to the point of sobriety, yet as he says after a crisis, he’s momentarily stone cold and lucidly defends himself.
We’re exposed to Chris’s anxieties first, Kerri Frost superbly conveying an insecure, prickly not entirely sympathetic character. Then the old flames Rob and Sue who worked in finance together. Whereas Sue’s straightforwardly still in love, Rob’s double loyalties mark his journey as more complex and intriguing. Grief’s excellent suggestiveness evokes sympathy for a initially unattractive character; he’s not at all what he seems. His reasons for withdrawing suddenly form a consummating clinch with Sue years back are wholly honourable; she was with someone else, quite miserably so. But she broke up the next day and he never realised. Sarah Griffin manages to convey the plangent disappointed sexiness, and directness of Sue by subsuming palpable desires in a rational exterior. They explode.
Ben Cassan’s Phil pulls the patsy part, and Crosby’s coup is to make him more omniscient than his appearance suggests. Ben Cassan stepped in at very short notice but you’d not guess t here. Phil’s very reasonableness and decency makes him the unenvied patsy who somehow caught Sue on the rebound.
There’s a social reckoning, a denouement, and a very unexpected plot point. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect from someone who knows what percentages can do. an excellent play and cast needing wider circulation; the audience was packed.