Watching. That is the essence behind the voyeuristic Window. A young couple –Grace and Jimmy – are settling into their life together and find unexpected escape by watching the sex life of their athletic neighbours unfold. It’s the human animalistic desire to watch, and quite frankly, who wouldn’t look if it’s right in front of you?
It’s a simple proposition set in an equally sparse marital bedroom. The light-hearted risk of watching another relationship is somewhat silly and provides the expected laughs – a personal highlight was the couple’s own bedroom antics get a little too over-excited – and this is where Window succeeds. It’s sitcom territory that wouldn’t be out of place on the small screen.
However, as the watching develops into something a little more sinister for the young couple Grace and Jimmy, and it is revealed that this seemingly harmless activity has been going on for five years, sadly the script doesn’t provide the depth necessary to make that believable and frankly it verges on the boring. The concept of voyeuristic attachment and reflection of relationships is intriguing, but the tone is off and the characters ultimately remain hollow, meaning that you leave feeling that there has been a missed opportunity for something a little more pertinent.
That said, Idgie Beau puts in a very strong performance as Grace, wringing the most out of the fairly light script and successfully evoking the subtle desperation of a housewife, trapped in the mundane. There is a sense of development in the character which is no mean feat in this piece, and it could be argued that the strength of performance is what actually keeps the play afloat.
She is well matched by Charles Warner’s increasingly exasperated Jimmy and impressively they manage to create a realistic chemistry for a couple facing years of mundane living ahead of them. Beau and Warner are comfortable on stage and in each other’s presence, which helps to smooth over the growing cracks in the rest of the play.
Ron Elisha’s Window is a fun production and undoubtedly has potential as a concept. It’s a good idea, but ultimately during the slightly too long 80-minute performance in the surprisingly large Bread & Rose Theatre it falls flat. As the initial slapstick humour of watching real life ‘porn stars’ wears off for the young couple, the leap into more serious implications is possibly a little too flippant, and unfortunately jars.
Window is playing at The Bread and Roses Theatre until September 16.