When a playwright chooses to direct his own work it’s always a risk – but with Real Circumstances’s production of Our Share of Tomorrow at Theatre 503 in Battersea, to say it has paid off may be a slight exaggeration.
Dan Sherer’s play, set in an Essex fishing village, tells the story of Cleo (Tamsin Joanna Kennard), a young girl whose mother has just passed away, her unconventional friend John (David Tarkenter), who she has picked up for companionship, and Tom (Jot Davies), her mum’s old flame who can’t let go of the feelings he had for her many years ago. The play passes at speed between different moments in time from Cleo’s first encounter with Tom, back to John and Cleo’s chance meeting in a hospital waiting room, to cross sections of the time Tom shared with both Cleo and her mother. The bonds between all three of them fray as they all battle the demons of loss, desperation and where the lines blur between right and wrong.
Kennard shines in her role as the mournful yet inquisitive Cleo, and Davies’s bumbling portrayal of the simple, understated Tom is heart wrenching to watch. Tarkenter does seem to let the side down, though, with his over emotive and extremely exaggerated acting style that appears to jar with the other, much more relatable, characters.
Some blame for Tarkenter’s underwhelming characterisation must go to Sherer’s script, which lacks cohesion. The dialogue can be very dubious in places and the lack of a climax in the storyline is a loss worth mourning. The decision to include singing in the production was well made, breaking up the wordy conversation and adding a lighter layer of entertainment to the piece. However, the rhythm section of the performance whereby the characters of John and Tom used boxes and bags as drums to back Chloe’s beautiful vocals was maybe a step too far, turning an emotional and true to life piece of theatre into the encore from Stomp.
James Cotterill must be commended for his beautiful wooden set design, converting one of the cosiest theatres in London into an intriguing piece of scenery. As soon as the audience enter the playing space they are relocated automatically to the emptiness of Tom’s life and the ambiance of a seaside village.
Overall, Our Share Of Tomorrow is an interesting piece that has all the components for a captivating piece of theatre. I just can’t help but feel that some parts of the production fell short, creating a slightly confusing but nevertheless heartfelt performance.
Our Share of Tomorrow is playing at Theatre 503 until 6 July. For more information and tickets, see the Theatre503 website.