Written for HighTide a decade ago, Adam Brace’s monologue was first performed with Diana Quick at a table and her face projected on to a screen, as she leaves video messages for her daughter who is living in Palestine.
Director Michael Longhurst, recognising the aptness of the video form during the current lockdown, has reworked the play with Quick recording it at home.
The setting is still the same: Quick plays Judy, an ex-lawyer and not-quite-self-aware-enough Islington liberal. It’s still 2010, there’s still a general election coming up, and a few of Judy’s north London pals ‘even seem taken with Clegg’. But a play about video calls is a no-brainer for an online revival right now.
Although it’s all one-sided, Brace smartly drops hints at the festering arguments between mother and daughter, and weaves Judy’s own exasperating ability for self-sabotage and her need for control into the rambling monologues: she’s being pushed out of the Women’s International League for Peace by a woman from Ilkeston of all places, and all her neighbours have managed to invite the new local Afghan refugee for dinner before she has.
Between the comic lines and the humorous send-ups of well-meaning do-goodery, and even within 30 minutes, Brace and Quick pull together a sad, painful portrait. What’s more, even if times have changed, as a metaphor for the complexities of effective communication, it couldn’t be more appropriate.
Midnight Your Time is available to view on the Donmar Warehouse YouTube channel until May 20: