As someone who grew up on television, I always do a ‘Henman fist’ when a production is short. I cannot with 3-hour epics, where my back and arse being to ache after 45 minutes because I never spend more than £20 for a seat, anymore so Caravan Theatre is the perfect antidote for those who like their theatre short and sweet.
Olivia Mace’s Gone Fishing looks at what happens after the scandal breaks. Magnus Whitlock (Scott Brooksbank) has not gone into hiding, he’s just gone away. When Amy (Olivia Mace), a journalist working for ‘Rupert’ finds him he agrees to talk and give his side of the story.
Whilst this piece isn’t immersive you are fully immersed in this production takes place in a caravan, there is even a working kettle (at most there are 10 of you, including the cast) which gives this production an intimacy. Director Eloise Lally ensures that we are the barrier to the two characters ever getting close. Are we witnesses or simply observers if either party were to take it too far or make their own claim about what happened in that caravan. Whitlock argues that in the past he would have got a slap on the wrist and men take such extreme, uncomfortable actions because women aren’t clear enough in their signals. A suggestion immediately refuted by Amy; men in power are great communicators, why can’t they read body language being communicated to them.
It was an honest and brutal look at what happens when these allegations are made, what are the motives and are some men more at risk than others. I am really looking forward to Mace’s future work after Gone Fishing. I found this compelling piece of drama that would work on screen (if only we had Play for Today on the television these days) as well as in a more traditional setting. Both Brooksbank and Mace give convincing and engaging performances which build tension and despite its short length left me satisfied by the conclusion, which felt plausible rather than dramatic for drama’s sake.
Caravan Theatre: Gone Fishing is on at 8:30 & 9:30 on 28 February-1 March