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‘Packs an emotional punch’: C-O-N-T-A-C-T – Various London locations ★★★★

London locations – until 11 October 2020
Guest reviewer: Claire Roderick

Set adrift in the ocean of indifference and ineptitude of government guidelines, theatres and producers are finding creative solutions to stage shows, and this socially-distanced production is a wonderful way to experience an intriguing and uplifting play.

Meeting at various locations around London, the audience are guided patiently through the use of the show’s app on their phones (easy enough even for technophobes like me) and, headphones in place, wait for the action to begin. The random thoughts of a passer-by appear in your headphones, and we follow the actor as Sarah complains of neck and chest pains, and tries to remember the next line in the song that’s stuck in her head.

A man approaches her and what at first appears to be a creepy pickup attempt turns into a beautifully cathartic intervention by her guardian angel, Raphael. As Raphael gently guides Sarah through her past and she is forced to confront the grief and loss behind her shrinking from emotional and physical contact, Sarah’s movements become larger and more free, resulting in lots of double takes from people walking along the river bank. The sight of a group of people staring intently at a silent couple must be very strange – the characters are voiced by Aoife Kennan and Richard Heap, so the actors have the tricky job of conveying the story visually as we listen. At the Monument show, Laura White and Max Gold did this effortlessly.

After a successful run in France, the story resonates strongly with the strange mood of the “new normal”. Sarah’s self-imposed isolation and her tentative steps towards making and enjoying emotional contact are portrayed with sensitivity and hope. Created and directed by Samuel Senè, and adapted into English by Quentin Bruno, the play is short, but packs an emotional punch. I was at a 7.30pm performance, and as the sun set, the lights on the Thames and the stunning backdrop of Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the Shard added an extra layer of wonder to this gem of a play.

from News, Reviews and Features – My Theatre Mates

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