In It Together
Written by: Catherine Zulver
Directed by: Imogen Prossor
BATS Theatre, 16th Oct 2018
Reviewed by: Madelaine Empson
Three 20-somethings try to sort their lives out in a paddling pool installed in their lounge whilst drinking copious amounts of gin. Fran (Jayne Grace) acts as ‘mama bear’, looking out for ‘the middle child’ Kate (Catherine Zulver) and their new flatmate Daniella (Charlotte Thomas), ‘the runt’. Though the women are friends and flatmates, they behave more like a family. Their relationship is dysfunctional and totally charming.
With a little bit of fat trimmed off its bones, In It Together could be a spectacular work. Originally staged as a 10-minute piece in the Short+Sweet Festival, Zulver has done an excellent job of extending the work – but I’d argue it could lose 20 minutes. Cutting it down to an hour would prevent the action dragging in the middle section and the main event losing its impact.
On to the main event. The climax of the play comes from one character’s decision to have an abortion, which is met by a resistance from her friend that dismays me. Personal views aside, it seems odd that the crux of a feminist work would be a relationship breakdown resulting from an issue that women already cop so much flack for. It’s sad to see such fantastic females and friends pitted against each other onstage in response to it too.
Performance-wise, the actors’ chemistry is convincing and touching. Grace is a feisty matriarch, conducting everyday conversation in a no-fuss, professional manner that takes a while to warm to, but soon delights. Zulver brings layers of understanding to her role, presenting a façade that’s as messy and complex as it is confident and natural. Just like her character, Thomas grounds her castmates. Her performance appears effortless, with a filthy drunken look and a statement about pyjamas being a show highlight.
In It Together shines in its depiction of sisterhood. I don’t think it quite hits the nail on the head for its emotional exploration, but it’s fun, funny, and a pleasure to watch.