FRINGE 2016: THEATRE – The Last Time I Saw Richard – Bakehouse Theatre – 4.5K

The Last Time I saw Richard is a quirky, well-paced, exploration of a romantic relationship. Written by Cat Commander, it’s an eloquently penned series of encounters between two people, which is often funny, sometimes moving and always engaging. When we first meet them, April and Richard are newly acquainted and clearly hitting it off. The exact circumstances surrounding their meeting are unclear, and as the play rolls along we’re given more of an idea of what their connection is not, rather than exactly what it is.

Commander has been judicious with her scripting of this intriguing liaison. There are enough questions left unanswered, enough information not given, to leave you wondering just what the whole picture would look like, but not so many gaps that it feels unfinished. These are glimpses of the protagonists’ lives, this is their mutual story and what goes on the rest of the time is a different world – there, but not necessarily relevant to the here and now. It’s a satisfying experience; like that feeling of being full, but not having overindulged.

Without chemistry between the actors, this show simply wouldn’t work, but Charles Mayer and Elizabeth Hay create sparking interactions, injecting the scenes with a pleasing mixture of sexual tension and tenderness. Both give strong performances, delivering their lines with a naturalness that ensures each encounter is believable and interesting.

The restrictions presented by the quick turn-around necessary during Fringe have seen designers Craig Behenna, Brad Williams and Matt Crook produce a highly effective combination of set and lighting which, while minimalist, define the space well and allow for smooth and clear transitions from scene to scene. Despite the action taking place in a string of similar hotel rooms, each is identifiably unique, and director Craig Behenna has managed to keep the movement, and use of the space, fresh throughout. The overall experience is completed with excellent sound design and musical selections (Michael Darren), which often lend the scene changes a late 90’s film vibe. This is another excellent, and technically clever, offering from

Kryztoff rating: 4.5K

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