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‘Makes you think about what ‘you’ did during lockdown’: IN TANDEM – Paines Plough (Online review) ★★★★

Guest reviewer: Sally Richmond

How did you react during lockdown? Did you go from a survival mode to growth? Travis Alabanza and Magdalena Zarębska-Wegrzyn’s In Tandem is an online play that shows how some people reacted during their quarantine period as we hear about their individual experiences, feelings and struggles. Part of the The Place I Call Home film festival, it gives us postcard type film clips of a stunted and bored couple in Krakow and a woman on her own who is chatting to her mother. The brilliant cast: Sharon D. Clarke, Patrycja Durska, Leanne Henlon and Pawel Kumiega give authentic and realistic portrayals of ordinary people enduring life and finding new ways of living.

Self-isolating Ella metaphorically talks about plants (house plants) to her mother and through this, explores her thoughts on inner strength and what we need in order to keep going, survive and thrive. Through these chats she begins to start a new kind of relationship with her mother, as the only things they have to discuss is the past as nothing new is happening due to isolation and the fact that no one is going anywhere.

The couple living in Poland find that they have quite different approaches to the lockdown situation and this obviously has a big impact on their relationship. She goes into ‘growth’ – wanting to learn new things and take up pursuits that will give her new outlooks and experiences, whereas he is just stuck in ‘survival’ with some acceptance but goes into an internal existence of TV shows and doesn’t expand his mind. This doesn’t bode well for them as a couple and ends up as part comedy and part disaster.

Receiving emails was exciting and as a viewer it made me feel intrigued with a slightly voyeuristic vibe; as you’re being let into someone’s life – able to observe their behaviour and thoughts. Smartly directed by Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner with joint artistic directors of Paines Plough, this drama certainly makes you think about what ‘you’ did during lockdown and your own personal relationships as you watch these character’s lives unfold.

Available from 3-5 November 2020.

from News, Reviews and Features – My Theatre Mates

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