Almost with You
This play, about a woman Lisa (Fiona Macleod) who is held up in her emotional life because of her relationship with her dead twin brother (Luke O'Sullivan), took too long to get going and was far too busy with unnecessary business for the first half of the play.
The play opens with a man and a woman making love and soon complaining about their knees and back, and thus the first moment of ‘hard to believe’. They look far too young and fit to be having such problems. Then several confusing scenes ensue where the woman shares intimacy with a much younger man and is pep-talked by her woman friend who has a baby. The four cast members come and go for several scenes without really carrying the story any further for the audience. Eventually we realise that the young man is the woman’s twin brother who has been dead for twenty years and that she is held up in her emotional life because she can’t get over his death.
In the second half we see the woman slowly separating herself from the brother and eventually being able to enter into a relationship with the man with whom she was making love at the opening. This after many talkings to by the friend and some conflict with the brother who is of-course part of her. All far too dragged out and confusing.
The play is described as a story about love, loss and letting go, and was written by Elizabeth Coleman who gained much popularity with her full length plays, It's My Party And I'll Die If I Want To and Secret Bridesmaids Business. She has also written for television - The Flying Doctors, Secret Life of Us, All Saints, McLeod's Daughter. This is another dabble at the relationship theme with particular attention given to the perceived difficulties of relationships when secrets must be kept. Could have been intriguing but the script let it down - at times it was really hard to continue to suspend disbelief.
Two of the actors also took too long to warm into their parts, but the acting was not the problem, it was the length of the script and the lack of clarity. This should have been a play of some emotional substance given its themes of loss and loneliness but seemed too bogged down in over sentimentalizing rather than finding truth.
The set was well constructed but perhaps too pretty for some of the neurosis that the play tried to portray.
Director, Kaarin Fairfax’s programme notes include the words: ‘We go to the theatre because we love the feeling and excitement of being in the present.’ And perhaps if the script had a been about a third shorter the audience could have had some excitement.
I listened to what people were saying as we came out of the show, and some people did enjoy the sentiment and clear resolution of the final few minutes. For me this simply came too late and I could only think that if the story were to continue, there would be trouble not too far ahead.