The Argument – Theatre Royal Bath REVIEW

One of the UK’s much loved actresses, Felicity Kendal and prolific actor Rupert Vansittart open their new one act play The Argument at Theatre Royal Bath this week. 

The play begins with a simple disagreement about a recent trip to the cinema but the argument soon gets out of hand after adultery is uncovered. 

The Argument - Felicity Kendal as Chloë and Rupert Vansittart as Frank - Photo credit Manuel Harlan

Arguments spread and true feelings are revealed and the disturbance creates a ripple effect of the characters surrounding the main couple. Family and friends get involved, having arguments of their own and giving their two pence on the couple’s situation.

Directed by Christopher Luscombe and written by William Boyd the content is a strong foundation for the actors to work upon. It’s fast paced and the actors don’t often get to stop to pause for breath on stage so one act of 75 minutes long is all that is needed. 

The Argument - Simon Harrison as Pip and Alice Orr-Ewing as Meredith - Photo credit Manual Harlan - (2)

Felicity Kendal and Rupert Vansittart are brilliant as the brutal and borderline alcoholic parents of Meredith, played by Alice Orr-Ewing and in laws of Pip, played by Simon Harrison. 

Kendal proves she’s still got it with her spot on comedic timing meanwhile Vansittart’s dry and witty humour accompanies her perfectly. The rest of the cast manage to hold heated conversations together for prolonged amounts of time with ease, proving their worth. 

The Argument - Sarah Earnshaw as Jane and Esh Alladi as Tony - Photo credit Manuel Harlan

To release some of the ever-building tension, humour is scattered throughout. A scene between Pip’s best friend and Meredith’s best friend, which escalates to an argument over inflections at the end of a sentence, particularly comes to mind.  

Set in the 21st century with references to Tinder and PPI as well as excessive unnecessary use of the word “like”, the play takes a self mocking tone. The beige and cream set keeps the focus on the conversations as it slots together to form several living rooms from different houses. 

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