Tuesday, May 28

A Greasy Spoon – Unity Theatre

Part of Unity’s Open Call

The joy of a double bill is the opportunity to see two very different works and A Greasy Spoon definitely delivered a change in tone from The Weight of Repopulating a Nation earlier.

This rehearsed reading marked the first public outing for Alice Bunker-Whitney’s dark comedy.  Given that this is a work in the early stages of its development, and still very much a work-in-progress it would be unfair to give it a star rating. Bunker-Whitney’s show opens with promise; Mandy and Shannon appear covered in blood and Mandy matter-of-factly observes that “this is gonna stain isn’t it?”.  

The show delivers laughs, but the absurd heightened reality promised by the blurb is never fully achieved, and there is a heavy reliance on dated comic conventions and stereotypes. Grace Gallagher and Kate Crossley are excellent, fleshing out Mandy and Shannon, and providing additional laughs when they get confused about whose line is whose. Anthony Gough, also works to move his character – ‘A Blind Man’ – beyond caricature and provide some substance. 

The piece works best when the audience’s imagination is left to its own devices or prompted by Bunker-Whitney’s stage directions (read with relish by Lee Hithersay) so it will be interesting to see how it works when fully staged.  The evening’s BSL interpreter, Andy Higgins needs a special mention for providing additional comedy as he grappled with the show’s swears and adlibs.  Indeed, as Bunker-Whitney considers future rewrites she may want to think about how best to expand his part.

A Greasy Spoon will also be available to view online one month after the live event. The show will be available at a Pay What You Can Rate and can be accessed via The Unity website. https://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/

Reviewer: Clare Chandler

Reviewed: 17th September 2021