Arts Review

Now and Then by Sean Grennan presented by the Centenary Theatre Group

Now and Then by Sean Grennan presented by the Centenary Theatre Group

Directed by Gary Kilger

Chelmer Community Theatre

Nov 5th-19th November 2022.

 

Dr Gemma Regan

 

A captivating production that leaves a mark on the psyche

 

In an Irish pub in Brooklyn in 1981 something momentous is about to happen to the lives of two people, they just don’t know it yet. The choices they make that night might just change their lives forever, but what would be the right one?

 

Jamie (Darcy Jay) the young bartender knows tonight is going to be one of those important moments in his life, as he closes up an empty bar after a long shift. He has his life as a musician all mapped out and is going to be one of those famous people who have an interesting Memoriam on the news about their incredible lives. He is keen to shut the bar and see his girlfriend until an older man, played by Keith Scrivens enters begging for just a quick one before closing. 

 

When Abby (Kristina Redwood), Jamie’s girlfriend turns up after a long shift in the diner all she wants to do is go home, but things become interesting when the strange man offers them $2000 to stay for just one hour and have a chat. Being young and poor it seems a bargain, but perhaps it may just cost them their lives… 

 

Director Gary Kilger is very excited about the Centenary Theatre Group’s last production of 2022. Initially, it seems to be a simple love story analysing the choices we make and how we should follow our dreams. However, Kilger is looking forward to seeing the reactions of the audience as the story unpredictably unfolds. It is a thought-provoking play which will have you second-guessing the decisions you have made in your life and contemplating, what if? 

 

The small cast of four manage the difficult role of revealing the nuances of each character to have you second-guessing as the unpredictable plot unfolds. Darcy Jay plays an innocent wide-eyed Jamie with aplomb, all fired up and ready to embark on a lifelong adventure. Kristina Redwood, as his partner Abby is also in top form, moulding a sympathetic character who evolves throughout the play. Their tender relationship is both sweet and convincing with great attention to detail whilst on stage.

 

Keith Scrivens and Rhonda Wood play mature embittered characters whose behaviour brings anything but maturity into the story. They too are well cast and have a good synergy with one another. As it is a one-scene play, the dialogue is of extreme importance and all four actors were excellent in their faultless performances.

 

The set designed by William McCreery-Rye is well planned as an American Irish-themed bar. It has a large multimedia window displaying the Brooklyn bridge which changes as the play progresses, ingeniously marking time. 

 

This is one of the most introspective plays I have seen from the CTG displaying the full gamut of human emotions felt in one lifetime. It is an enjoyable, well executed and captivating production that leaves a mark on the psyche and is a fitting choice for their final production of 2022!

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