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A Table Tennis Play - Walrus/Theatre Royal Plymouth - 4**** - One4Review

A Table Tennis Play – Walrus/Theatre Royal Plymouth – 4****

| On 13, Aug 2019

In a wonderfully bleak, vaulted venue, a table tennis table takes centre stage with a pit full of table tennis balls separating the audience from the stage. The setting is an old basement air raid shelter under a big house where Cath, who is sorting though some family possessions following the death of her mother, used to live. She is helped by her partner, Callum, both in their early 30s, and with whom she enjoys a comfortable relationship. The possessions are all represented by table tennis balls, the exception being an actual portable record player complete with Bruce Springsteen album. Cath is obsessed by time, knowing her own age and the age at which her mother died to the minute. Time is also passing by in the relationship, illustrated by rather metronomic games of table tennis between the two. The peace is broken by the entry of 18-year old Mia, a professional tennis player who now lives in the house with her ill father. Mia’s youthful questioning of Cath and Callum upsets the couple’s rhythm and, though various devices including whisky, spot squeezing and flapjacks, the barriers start to break down between the three characters and their fears and insecurities come to the surface. Sam Steiner’s play is an engaging hour’s drama, encompassing many themes – love, friendship, grief and the passing of time. The cast and production are excellent, including Rosa Robson’s brilliantly enigmatic performance as Cath, although Beth Holmes as Mia steals the show, concluding matters with a perhaps slightly unnecessary epilogue.

Reviewed by Howard

Underbelly Cowgate
Until 25th August

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