Restless at Etcetera Theater
There is an air of familiarity around Restless in a story that seems to have already been told. In this period play, doctors like Tristan (Tom Rouvray) still visited people at home (unlike the current system, which somehow assumes that people get sick by appointment). I’m not sure if Jonathan (Robert Bingham) only had one maid, Grace (Sarah Robinson) for the sake of narrative simplicity: gardeners and so on. After all, why would Jonathan, or “Mr. Ogilvy” as he insisted on being addressed, especially by those he didn’t like very much, would he insist on such formalities and make it a point of honor? to say that he is the head of the family?
Household numbers have been reduced thanks to a kind of family drama. The play doesn’t say exactly what happened: all that is known is that Jonathan and his sister Angela (Marie Drisch) are now deprived of their father, whom they both speak fondly of. . Jonathan is inclined to channel his emotions in the form of anger – his too frequent temper tantrums made the character rather one-dimensional. An apparent late turnaround was short lived, and at a time when one could be jailed for not being able to pay his debts, he discovers that his carefree lifestyle cannot continue, even though his petulance is. eternal.
Jumping to conclusions and refusing to listen to anyone else’s version of events, Jonathan sets out to destroy Tristan’s reputation with sustained determination, but in doing so puts a stain on Angela’s character and, for example, implication, his. In short, he shoots himself in the foot. But neither Tristan nor Angela are entirely faultless, which makes the story more complicated than it seems at first glance and, in the end, makes it an interesting plot.
Jonathan seems to care more about the well-being of an off-stage character than his own sister. The two siblings engage in the escape. He does this by spending time with friends and spending money he doesn’t have, while she prefers make-believe worlds of fiction books. But extrapolating the tidy, tidy world of fiction into the real big bad world has implications that Angela naively realizes until their permanence becomes clear to her. I could have called it a coming-of-age story, except for some ambiguity as to whether they actually come out on the other side of their older, wiser experiences.
The production is rhythmic but not so much that it seems rushed – there is, alas, no metaphor for the show in a scene where Grace struggles to keep up with Angela’s pace. The cups, saucers and cutlery, along with the cut tones, make this production look more like a century or so ago than the costumes (although to be fair, it’s not as if anyone one was wearing a jacket with The North Face Logo on it). The play credibly shows the kind of restrictions that could be placed on a woman at the time, even that of a household far removed from work homes. A silver lining, however, is evident as the play draws to a close, and there is room for a sequel in which the stories of these characters could be developed further. A curious and intriguing production.
Review by Chris Omaweng
The pressures of expectations can be overwhelming. No one knows this better than the Ogilvey siblings: Angela, a young woman who gets lost in storybooks, and Jonathan, the new head of the family, plagued by growing gambling debts and self-doubt.
A chance encounter with the new doctor, Tristan, however, brings new meaning to Angela’s existence. But will this meeting be as innocent as it seems, or will it threaten to tear a family apart?
After all, life isn’t as simple as a storybook.
Actors / Team:
With Tom Rouvray, Marie Drisch, Robert Bingham & Sarah Robinson
Written by Robert Bingham
Directed by Joshua Jewkes
November 24, 2021 – November 27, 2021