Contact.com, the latest play by Michael Kingsbury is playing at the Park Theatre. The play follows two couples, who met online, sharing one night together. The twist being they are from (as we are constantly reminded) different economic backgrounds.
The hosts Matthew and Naomi, played by Jason Durr and Tanya Franks, are upper middle class north Londoners, whilst their guests, Ryan and Kelly, played by Ralph Atkin and Charlie Brooks, are working class south Londoners. Although wealth ‘divides’ between North and South London do remain, the play ignores how South London has been hugely gentrified over the last five years. This makes the play feel very dated, especially as locations are very deliberately, awkwardly thrown into the text to further enforce the North:South “divide”.
The relationships between the characters were not compelling. Tanya Franks gave the most emotionally provoking performance when she was rejected by her lover, but, as the characters often felt like undeveloped stereotypes of the class system, it was hard to care about their decaying relationships. The performers were all strong but the text seemed to restrict them from finding true depth within the character. It was at times funny but mostly it felt like the play used cheap or obvious jokes about the characters’ obvious “differences” to provide these laughs.
The whole thing felt very unprogressive and the plot was predictable. It did not challenge any ideas other than questioning whether North Londoners would let the South Londoners into their home. There was some potential for an emotionally engaging story but, on the whole, it felt very uninformed and lacked depth. 2/5
Review written by Lucy Bishop.
Contact.com is currently showing at the Park Theatre until Saturday 14th February. For more information on the production, visit here…