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Review: The Positive Hour, at West London Trades Union Club

28 November, 2019 — By Nell Maskell

APRIL de Angelis is one of our foremost women playwrights and I anticipated an evening of interesting drama: worthy, important, rather than humorous and laugh-out-loud. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The play is set in the 1990s and opens on Miranda (Robyn Pinkney) – a principled, sincere social worker with her own hang-ups – interviewing Paula (Ashleigh Cole), an attractive, pot-smoking single mother who has lost custody of her young daughter because of a violent boyfriend and her earning extra cash giving blow jobs.

Miranda (returned from time away) runs a support group for Paula and two other women: her friend Emma (Deborah Peck), a frustrated artist, recently into kinky sex with The Man (Jason Plessas) and Nicola (Zara Evans), an anxious, full-of-guilt woman studying to fulfil her ambitions, hampered by a wacky, possessive father.

Miranda and her live-in partner Roger (William Barklam) maintain their liberal principles but life is boring. Miranda brings her work home, not even accepting the glass of wine Roger hopes will enliven the atmosphere.

Eventually, this cauldron of confused emotions spills over into a sexy, hilarious situation between Emma and Roger with a shock for Miranda, while pot-smoking Paula shows another way of making herself feel better.

In spite of the hilarity, we find ourselves questioning what has happened to the liberal values of the 60s and 70s – have they survived the disillusion of later decades and is their loss inevitable?

Well worth seeing, the entire cast is excellent, as is the direction by Jack O’Connor. The set is simple and effective.

Until November 30
020 8992 4557

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