The End of the Line


Aireborne Theatre
theSpace @ Symposium Hall – Garden Theatre

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

When a place is the ultimate goal and all your happiness depends on getting there.

At least that is the unwavering belief of Marley and Tom who meet one late night on an empty train station when the train is delayed and delayed and delayed again. Marley (Josie Francis) would like to be anywhere else but here, and Tom (Will Chambers) is just dragging himself through his recently fulfilled dream of making a life in London. Still struggling to get used to the anonymity, he strikes up a conversation the minute he gets to the platform.

The authors creatively break up what could have been the monotony of two characters on stage for the whole show by using the main story to frame several short scenes of the main characters with therapists, friends or a local takeaway cook. These teach us what brought them to the train station and what made them behave as they do – even though they don’t share it with each other explicitly. All of the side characters were played with funny and precise simplification by Serena Birch Reynardson.

Every scene in this play merges into the next, while fully acknowledging the previous situation is not finished yet. It makes the whole performance a compact unit, not losing its tempo despite the sedentary premise.

Even though the play does offer a sort of flowery happy-end with Here Comes the Sun, it is a bitter one. Both of the characters admit they feel like they are surviving and not living, realising they will always be carrying their problems wherever they go. Yet Tom is genuinely excited about a promotion at work that will most likely bring him more overtime and Marley is still desperately dreaming about travelling and waiting for a breakthrough in her therapy.