Window, a well-crafted exploration of voyeurism through the guise of domesticity, successfully nods to the impact of obsession and narcissism in the modern world – yet struggles to remain completely engaging.
Grace (Idgie Beau) and Jimmy (Charles Warner) are a happily married 30-something couple, creating a loving home with their first child. Whilst certainly out of their honeymoon period, their love and passion for one another is still palpable. This comfortable world is quietly rocked when their new neighbours unintentionally publicise their relationship through an initially hilarious inability to close the curtains. In an era dominated by social-media fuelled narcissism, writer Ron Elisha takes the concept of holding a mirror up to the world to reflect its true nature quite literally, showing one woman’s fixation with observing her neighbour’s life at the expense of her own identity.
The progression of the couple’s harmless hedonistic hobby descends from aphrodisiac to obsessive anxiety. This is generally well mastered; developing slowly but consistently from the end of the first third. This impact waivers around the climax, where Grace’s obsession tips from debilitating to hugely destructive rapidly without much nuance. This is largely well directed by Dave Spencer in the first two thirds, with a particularly strong middle section, however in its most delicate moment,s it falls into being melodramatic and repetitive. The themes of post-natal depression and obsession are eluded to in extremes, with the stark tonal contrast between the bawdy comedic opening and the exaggerated conclusion amplifying this.
With so much of the action directed towards the audience, a la ‘Gogglebox’, the immediacy of the piece is one of its strongest qualities – allowing for full frontal exposure to both characters emotional journey. At times though, it facilitates the humour being delivered in a somewhat clichéd and exaggerated manner and occasionally feels repetitive and even monotonous. However, as Beau and Warner have strong chemistry, their naturalistic comfort with one another upholds the impact of their unravelling and suspends our disbelief in the moments that lack subtly.
This insular show is aptly suited to the small confines of The Bread and Roses Theatre, with the comforting-turned-claustrophobic surroundings of their humble abode echoing the plays primary theme satisfyingly. Overall, Window is certainly watchable with moments of strength in all areas. However, it would benefit from losing 10 minutes in the final section and finding a way to break up the repetitive feel in the staging (an unenviable challenge in this style!).