An hour on the train to Buxton and the scenery changes from the built up city to dramatic green countryside.  A short walk from the station, tucked away behind the impressive Edwardian Opera House, is the intimate Pavilion Arts Centre Studio.  It’s a good space seating 90, comfortable and perfect for small scale plays.  I’ve seen some good productions here.

However, Lightspeed is disappointing.  It’s a play about two people falling in love very quickly, told in reverse order – an interesting premise.  There are some good points.  Stage design is striking with a back screen and rails of clothing which are used to progress the play.  Francesca Heraghty-Smith is technically good as Emma.

The problem with this play is that it’s not really about anything.  The play is described as ‘thoughts that aren’t said and actions without meaning’.  Which is all very well unless you’re the audience.  There is almost no emotional connection between the two characters, and at times I wondered why there is a second character at all.  The play is so much about what is inside Emma’s head that Charlie, played by Taran Knight, ought not to have been there.  And very little has been gained from running the time backwards; not enough is set up at the start of the play to be revealed at the end.  I desperately wanted there to be a significance to the engagement ring that Emma wore but this just looked like a mistake.

It’s a difficult thing to pull off a play where so much is left unsaid.  The drama must come out of the conflicting back stories and internal conflicts within the characters.  Writer Clem Haran has missed too many opportunities to make the play interesting.

At least the beer in Buxton is good.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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