Review: Table 5, Studio, Dolman Theatre, Newport
There’s nothing like a wedding for bringing people together, and not just a bride and groom united in love and marriage.
Kevin Myers’ one-act comedy drama, Table 5 focuses on the random table of guests that don’t fit anywhere else at the wedding party. In this case, the central characters are made up of an overbearing wife and her downtrodden husband, an old flame of the groom, a gay hair stylist and his best man (that happens to be a woman) and a real aunt and uncle that no-one ever talks about.
“We’ve struck gold” proclaims hair stylist, Andrew to his future "best man", Lou, following the unexpected arrival of the bride’s aunt, Pat which seems to have ruffled the feathers of surrogate aunt Susan. Andrew’s statement is spot on, as Table 5 blends memorable comedy with immersive drama for an hour and ten minutes.
Performed in the round, while in the main seated at a table, Table 5 gives the audience a unique experience of seeing everything from a different angle. This can occasionally be a downfall, as you don’t always get to catch every character’s visual reaction to another character’s statement. The strong dialogue, however, more than makes up for this, as does the intimacy of the presentation and performance.
Myers has created seven central characters to drive the script through the hour, a number which can be quite a challenge to give each plenty to do, while keeping them interesting. Importantly, each character requires defining characteristics of which can only be created by the cast members themselves. Fortunately, Table 5 has a great ensemble of character actors which do precisely that,
By rearranging the table seats to get the best view of “the top table”, Sue Morgan creates an impression of controlling and pushiness as Susan from the offset Rob Jacobs gives an endearing portrayal as her slightly down-trodden husband, Frank whose comparisons to his wife's behaviour to World War II dictators is delivered gently but with just the right amount of cheek.
Joining the pair is Shelley, a likeable young female guest portrayed with an air of mystery by Katherine Bluck, who hints at her previous relationship with the newly married couple while talking of her mysterious partner who has yet to arrive at the wedding party.
Writer, Kevin Myers brings to life the role of Andrew McAllister with an air of a camp TV presenter who ihas no etiquette. As Andrew revels in the unfolding drama around him. his brassy friend Lou, brilliantly portrayed by Nicky Davies, reacts to his glee of the unfolding drama. “Theorise in your head,” she tells him while tucking into her food, “I can’t have you being Jessica Fletcher, its bad for my digestion!” The showbiz equivalent of wedding socialites, both Lou and Andrew are warmly received by their fellow guests, as well as the audience bringing much laughter to the proceedings.
Table 5’s guests are completed by Aunt Pat and Uncle Barry performed with sensitivity and sentimentality by Jane Sinclair and Richard Dymond respectively. Both are recent arrivals from Tenerife and have several party shattering secrets.
Giving additional performances are Catrin Mair Griffiths and Mike Sims as the bride and groom and Dianne Hayes as the waitress. Although their performances are brief, they are nicely balanced and add suitably to the unfolding story, particularly Sims' cocky portrayal of the groom.
Fans of character-driven comedy drama mixed with well-conceived dialogue will love Table 5. Don’t miss the opportunity to book a seat for a future presentation or catch up with the plays characters again when the places are set for the already promised sequel, Table 9!