The intimate space of Jermyn Street Theatre has been transformed into a wooden hunting lodge somewhere in in a remote part of New Jersey. A mounted stag head looks at us accusingly yet somewhat myopically from the opposite wall; the room is strewn with labelled boxes and the sound of heavy rain completes the set.
Mitch and Lino, an unlikely pair, have to wait the rain out and it definitely does not look good! Mitch is angry, frustrated, recently separated and above all trapped in an embarrassing, to say the least, situation of his own making. Lino is impassive and relaxed. Despite a rough beginning they soon find common ground and they discuss their approach to relationships, family, childhood trauma and ultimately, how they connect to people and seek intimacy.
Michael Puzzo’s dark comedy through scorn and self-deprecation discusses humanity and its fallibility in the virtual era. How modern day technology allows us to distance ourselves from our lives and personalities and to adopt or shed personas at whim. The consequence of that can be cathartic or embarrassing or destructive or who knows what; life is often more than capable to surpass fiction.
Despite the layered story-telling that keeps the audience guessing, the humour and the witty put-downs, the play does not stray from stereotypes. Lino’s character is underdeveloped and the end is abrupt, forced, leaving a sense of incompleteness.
An enjoyable two-hander, which could have offered more.