by David Eldridge
12 Sept – 22 Oct 2022

Der Online Merker

The play sets out from an unusual starting point. The party in Laura’s swish apartment is over, the guests have all left, save for Danny whom she has met this very evening. There ensues an embarrassed silence whilst they decide which of them is going to speak first. In this case, however, it isn’t the man who hopes to seduce the woman, but rather the woman the man and in decidedly aggressive fashion at that. As we watch Danny twist and turn in discomfort, we are led to anticipate a comedy.

And yet, although there is plenty to laugh about, David Eldrige’s hit play, first performed in 2017 at the National Theatre in London, has more to it than that. The play soon transmutes into a striptease of two souls. It takes a lot of talking to bring them both along the path leading towards intercourse. The man admits to his bungled life: broken marriage, hasn’t seer his young daughter for years, lives in a household with his mother and an ancient aunt. All attempts at finding a partner via Tinder have failed dismally. Things become even deeper, as Laura gradually lets out the truth as to what she is really after. Our wealthy, successful career woman has not found happiness - at the age of 39 she wants one child at least, but preferably a loving husband surrounded by numerous children in a house in the country. (…)

Director Adrienne Ferguson has two excellent actors in Vernon Marshal’s apt setting. (…) Sian Polhill-Thomas gives us a subtle, remarkable interpretation of a surprisingly courageous city woman on the brink of despair who dares to reveal herself with all her weaknesses. Liam Jeavons is a touch more comical as the „man who doesn’t dare“, who is constantly in a state of embarrasssment; as child from a broken home and after his failed marriage, he knows all too well what is at stake, but finds himself the victim of a fierce attraction.

Too much is not revealed by disclosing that the two of them do, after lengthy, here and there slightly over-lengthy preliminaries, finally, land happily in bed together. This leaves the audience happy, too.

Renate Wagner


  She wants to, he doesn’t - why on earth not?

We are in the year 2015, the world is still in kilter, for next year will surely bring us the first female US President. Laura, 39, has just thrown a party in her apartment in a smart part of London. As it ends - the clock in Vernon Marshal’s detailed setting tells us it’s 2.30 am - only one guest is left in the room: Danny, aged 37. Laura now begins to make him advances, but he plays coy. Why, we may ask? David Edridge’s intimate play, „Beginning“, first performed in London in 2017 is now showing for the first time in Austria, in the original English. Director Adrienne Ferguson makes the most of the embarrassed tension between the ‘forward’ Laura (Sian Polhill-Thomas) and the clearly complex-laden Danny (Liam Jeavons). At times this becomes difficult to bear, at others it is delightful, with beautifully attuned gestures between the two. It takes several songs from a playlist set to „Shuffle“ for it to become quite clear, as Laura whirls about the apartment with abandon, that dancing is not exactly Danny’s forte. One or two infringements of the sacred English faithfulness to the original (i.e. cuts) would have done the evening good; nevertheless, there does float a small bubble of interhuman warmth through our crisis-burdened present.