Between Ten and Six by Chris Mayo is a cautionary tale made up of all the grisly things your mother warns you of in big, bad London.
Set in North London, Ed and Charlie meet when Charlie applies to be Ed’s flatmate. Unfortunately for Charlie (who is socially inept himself, suffering from anxiety severe enough to be prescribed medication for), Ed is committed to his homophobic, racist and generally offensive beliefs. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he also has a tendency of getting overexcited at inappropriate times and to inappropriate proportions.
Tensions arise when waiting for a mysterious package to arrive: their requisite aspirations are exposed, and clash. It is a really interesting topic, particularly as it is one that most people will have experienced at some point in their lives.
A bit like a perfect storm, everything has to be just so in order to culminate in this exact, brilliant outcome. But that’s what makes a good story. The play certainly delivers on both the comedy and tragedy, hilarious and shockingly devastating at the same time – it is undoubtedly a triumph.
The short play, running at only 60 minutes, could have benefited from being just a fraction longer to better embed the emotional shortfalls Charlie suffered. Charlie’s girlfriend Rachel, brilliantly played by Samantha Spurgill, was a fantastically wilful young lady. I’d love to ask how someone so deeply troubled by their own self, like Charlie, could manage to attract (and retain for a long period of time) such a bright spark? During the glimpse into their relationship that the play allowed, I could not fathom what may have brought them together, as they didn’t seem to have any plausible attraction.
To me, Ed was creepy enough; however, more unsettling than the everything-phobic character, was Owen Llewelyn (the actor who played him). Llewelyn didn’t quite seem to fit in his own space on the stage: the movement didn’t seem natural and the transitions towards the climax seemed improbable. However, the pace at which the play had to move in order to complete the tale may have restricted artistic licence somewhat.
The script was brilliantly written and the story very original. The conversations were mindful of natural speech which made it a pleasure to experience. Mayo is clearly a very talented playwright and a good actor too. His natural instinct for timing made for hilarious tongue-in-cheek observations. I would definitely be interested in watching anything Mayo puts his hand to, be it writing, acting or performing standup.
Between Ten and Six is playing at the Leicester Square Theatre until 20 April. For more information and tickets see the Leicester Square Theatre website.