Directed by Jamie Biddle and Gillian King
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited
Harrie Dobby’s play “The Gap” purports to be about what individuals must sacrifice to be happy; however, that enduring and rich question seems to get lost in the gaps in time and place in this otherwise charming play about two seemingly star-crossed lovers who meet in Southeast Asia in the midst of their backpacking adventures across the globe. Lisa (Abigail Arnold-Ochs) decides to escape her trailer-park existence by taking her first flight to Southeast Asia where she stumbles upon Dave (Rafiq Richard), falls in love with him, marries him, gets pregnant, settles back in the UK and becomes totally miserable. Dave wants to stay in the UK after he gets a job offer from former backpacking friend Megan (Harrie Dobby). Dave is content to spend Saturdays with Megan and Andy (Jamie Biddle), work hard, earn money to properly raise his daughter, and enjoy vacation time. Lisa not so much.
Lisa is a wanderer and was identified as such back in Southeast Asia by Sylvie (Madeleine Brolly) with whom she and Dave stayed a night (along with Sylvie’s mate Sean also played by Jamie Biddle). That wanderlust drives her to leave husband and child and go back on the road again. Because the characters in “The Gap” are not clearly defined and their conflicts properly identified, the plot here is thin. There is a lot of kissing and cuddling and drinking and toking but the audience learns very little about the “inner lives” of the protagonists Lisa and Dave or their acquaintances. These characters need to match the grit of the language they speak – they need to be far more morally ambiguous to make their choices understandable and appealing.
There are musical interludes between scenes which one assumes comment (like a Greek Chorus) on the action of the play. Unfortunately, because of the dreadful acoustics in the Flamboyan Theatre, not a word of the songs could be clearly understood.
While it is clear Lisa and Dave see the world from two disparate points of view, their story in “The Gap” adds little to the important conversation about sacrifice, happiness, or the difficulty of making life choices that lead to happiness. The actors work hard but they do not have enough richness of text to create authentic and believable characters.