Running until this Saturday, ‘Forwards & Backwards’ is the new production from Square Peg Theatre at the Camden People’s Theatre.
Featuring performances by duo Katie Robinson and Michael White, ‘Forwards & Backwards’ is a fractured tale featuring domestic scenes interspersed with cross-country train journeys that jump backwards and forwards in time. Through disconnected fragments the audience builds a picture of a couple’s first meeting, the early stages of their romance, married life, infidelities, loss and finally reconciliation. The setting is sparse – a tea chest and a small sheet of plywood serve as train seat, toilet door, sofa and bathroom mirror, however this only serves to emphasise the sheer physicality of the piece, as the two actors are intricately intertwined in a ballet-like dance for much of the play.
I suppose you might say that the opening is rather predictable, but then most relationships develop along a similar path at the very beginning. As the story progresses, however, things become more complex and the audience are confronted with some genuinely uncomfortable revelations – I thought the scenes dealing with an extra-marital affair and the death of a loved one were very sensitively played, and I also liked the way that the whole package was neatly tied up, with the story ending exactly where it had begun.
The performances were superb – I’ve seen many an emotional scene terribly overplayed, but not here. Katie Robinson’s acting was particularly nuanced – she managed a whole range of convincing emotional states with absolutely no scenery-chewing in sight. The chemistry between these two actors worked particularly well too – by the end of the first scene I was completely convinced that they were a genuine couple – delightful.
‘Forwards & Backwards’ is a great little play and I commend it to you – it runs until Saturday 18 August with performances at 9pm each night. Tickets are a steal at only £8. If you feel like making a night of it a new comedy, Arabian Nights featuring Hammer & Tongs Theatre, takes place in the theatre space earlier in the evening at 7:30pm each night.