When asked what I thought of this play, I though for a moment, searched for a statement to sum up the experience, and came up with, "It was almost...almost...good? You know?" I'm gloriously articulate, but nonetheless that is how it felt to watch some moderately talented actors tackle this script. I felt a bit of their residual fear, their preparatory breath for what they were probably up against. And I what came next was energy, focus, and near-total commitment to the text, which is always nice to see. Simon Farquhar's play is very clearly the doing of a young playwright (and even more so, of a young man). Here we have Keith, abject failure and struggling single father, reaching out for contact and support in a world that continues to ignore his pleas. Enter Shazza, the most average of sluts, who he meets at the bar one night. This is the essential equation we are given to work with, and it persists into some semblance of a story, almost in the way that Keith forces their dalliance into some sort of emotional connection. There are some moments of amazing acting between Keith and his kindred-spirit neighbor, who confesses regularly on his similarly depressing life. The money-lender is convincingly terrifying, and his presence results in a few gory and visceral sequences that prove at least mildly exciting.
The main question: What can you do with a one-night-stand--can it become a relationship? Or, better yet, can you make a play of it?
Farquhar seems to be wearing his heart on his sleeve. It may not be possible to encounter a playwright penning a relationship play who doesn't chuck himself somewhere in there, for better or worse. While his dialogue is sharp, contemporary, and amusing, the play is often clumsy. There were a few times, I winced, thinking, 'why did you have to do that?', but there were also times when I cheered him on in my head, congratulating on a particularly clever or illuminating section. If the junctures of this play weren't so visible, it would be something.
What he has succeeded at is creating a sense of context, giving life and depth to an entire way of life in Aberdeen. The texture of this city emerged through the words, and gave life to the circumstances. (Even if David had to explain most of the slang to me).
Rainbow Kiss continues at the Royal Court Theatre through the 6th of May.