Last One Here review at White Bear Theatre, London – ‘a tepid production’
It’s a big day for Jamie and Aaron: their two-year anniversary as well as bonus day at Jamie’s banking job, and life seems sweet. But before they can make it to the evening’s celebratory dinner, petty office politics, life-coaching trials and gym temptations remind them of points in the relationship better forgotten.
Martin Blackburn’s Last One Here is bubbly and entertainingly nasty but Edward Tidy and Mark Rannoch lack real chemistry as the self-absorbed, middle class couple, and Georgia Leanne Harris’ direction places them as far from physical with each other as it’s possible to be.
The pace of the play is let down by the production’s stiffness and lack of momentum: much of the time is spent with the actors standing entirely still, with one of them waiting his turn to speak. Several darkly funny lines are fumbled, and Rannoch doesn’t convincingly sell us the ribald nastiness of Jamie’s observations of his coworkers.
Sally Hardcastle’s set is similarly uninspiring, consisting of a few black boxes and coffee tables that are sometimes sat upon, but largely ignored, and the sole doggy representative of Aaron’s odd passion for stuffed animals sits there sadly, to be picked up only during the one scene that requires it.
The downer ending feels abrupt, but despite all we’ve learnt about Aaron and Jamie, there’s no reason to care.
Blackburn’s play is strongest when immersing us in his characters’ overlapping memories, good and bad. The material has potential but it deserves a stronger production.