Tasting Notes at Southwark Playhouse | Theatre overview
Tasting Notes is an all-encompassing title that’s completely becoming for a play that treads 24 hours of kind of the identical occasions by the eyes of six totally different individuals. Every has a novel expertise that shapes the way in which they view sure issues, and each little element they add to the larger image produces a distinct flavour. Structured in Rashomon model, with a tone and idea just like Katriona Chapman’s Breakwater (enjoyable, heavy-hearted and fantastic, discovering happiness within the on a regular basis struggles of life), Tasting Notes is a little bit little bit of every thing.
Subtlety drives the script. LJ, throughout her solo piece, goes to the correct nook desk of the wine bar the place Joe – considered one of her regulars – often dutifully sits each evening. From there, she sings of individuals with baggage, hinting at his private demons and alerting the viewers, which units the muse for Joe’s later actions. Moreover, George – an worker on the wine bar – not exhibiting up for his shift, and LJ pondering one thing horrible has occurred to him, provides one other layer of warning about an upcoming tragedy. Silence accompanies subtlety, permitting awkward conversations to linger and elicit giggles from the viewers. This identical silence is then utilized in uncomfortable conversations of a extra sombre nature, guiding emotional beats and permitting for the truth of the tragedy to sink in.
Whereas there’s a lot to like about Tasting Notes, there are additionally points that weaken the fantastic manufacturing. There’s no mic assist, so the instrumentals are overwhelming and it’s exhausting to listen to the lyrics in a number of the musical numbers. This isn’t a lot an issue for the upbeat songs, however for those that anchor characters’ feelings it’s detrimental to the play’s storytelling efforts. Whereas a number of the characters are vibrant and intensely likeable, others aren’t as interesting. Maggie and Oliver’s romance is an interesting tandem narrative and a treasure trove of comedy, however their interactions don’t transcend that and their chemistry is simply okay. Maybe that is one other reflection of the title – of differing tasting notes, some extra palatable than others.
Photograph: Chris Marchant
Tasting Notes is at Southwark Playhouse from 27th July till 27th August 2022. For additional info or to ebook go to the theatre’s web site right here.