Review: ‘One Last Thing (For Now)’
Althea Theatre is presenting wartime stories inspired by love letters at the Old Red Lion Theatre this month in a new play by Lilac Yosiphon. Vera Mikusch delivers her verdict…
One Last Thing (For Now) depicts various tales of love and life, all dealing with the theme of war. While the play is advertised as being based on love letters written in war times, it’s more focused on the idea of romantic relationships and what effect war has on them.
The cast is quite large with eight people, but every character is equally important and the audience gets plenty of stage time with each of them. However, the characters are written in a disappointingly one-dimensional vein throughout, with each of their appearances only serving to underline the same aspects of their personality as previous scenes, which gets a bit tiresome given the 130-minute running time.
Worse still, the stories presented within the play are not particularly well-explained either. It would have been great to have learned more background information on where each narrative takes place and in what period, simply because there are so many different tales going on at a very fast pace.
Nevertheless, One Last Thing (For Now) remains surprisingly funny, to the point of feeling like a comedy despite its serious themes. The cast manages to combine that humorous tone with tasteful gags, meaning the jokes aren’t inappropriate at any point.
However, a bit more emphasis on the play’s more sombre historical elements would have made the stories more engaging, especially during the first half. The second half does admittedly catch onto its predecessor’s mistakes and give more context to the stories, but it is a shame that this change of tone didn’t occur earlier.
Overall, the play is well performed with great acting and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but that the stories feel too brushed over and fast-paced to get you engaged with the characters makes this something of a missed opportunity.
One Last Thing (For Now) will play until Saturday 25 March at the Old Red Lion Theatre. Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm, Saturday and Sunday matinee 3pm. Tickets cost £16 for adults, £12 for concessions and £10 for matinee performances.