The Working Actors Studio have revived Simon Stephens 2003 play One Minute at the King’s Head Theatre. ‘One minute’ refers to the time it takes 11-year-old Daisy Schults to vanish, and the play depicts five characters impacted by her disappearance. In part this is a police drama, with the two detectives, played by Frederick Lysegaard and Lee Lomas, leading the investigation into her disappearance, but later being left on their own as other resources are taken away due to their lack of success. But it is much more an emotional study of the interaction of the five characters.
The story unfolds slowly through numerous short scenes, many of which are only tangentially linked to the actual events of the disappearance. For example, the two characters of Mary Louise and Catherine, played by Imogen Davis and Imogen MacKenzie, meet originally in a shop and then become flatmates, but neither ever knew the girl that disappeared. Detective Evans develops a relationship with Catherine as a result of his frequenting the pub in which she works, but they never discuss the case. Eventually, after many months, the body is found, but there is no resolution to the reasons behind, or responsibility for, the crime.
The play is staged very simply in the Kings Head Theatre, with the audience on three sides. Furniture and props are minimal. This was a good choice, because the audience is not distracted from the words and the actors, and this is a play where little actually happens. More thought could however have gone into how to use costumes to indicate the difference between the characters and the passage of time.
The acting was solid throughout, although I thought at times a little more pace to the dialogue would have been helpful, as this felt like quite a long hour.
Reviewer: Paul Ackroyd
Reviewed: 25th March 2023
North West End UK Rating: ★★★