The New Theatre
Taboo, written by John Morton and directed by Sarah Baxter can best be described as provoking a “yes, but, no, but” reaction. Well performed and directed, this play had good potential and many positive features, but fell sadly short in terms of script.
Both Morton and Fox, under Baxter’s laudable direction, give engaging turns as Tom and Lily. Opening the show, Fox demonstrates excellent comic timing and ability to quickly switch characters as she rehearses nervously for her impending date with Tom. Morton bounces of this agitated energy effectively, bringing a good balance of character to the stage. The two performers maintain this quality of performance throughout, despite having to contend with an unwieldy script.
Morton’s writing displays an strong aptitude for character-writing, and for natural, light dialogue. However there were issues with the construction of the story; rather than following a clear, smooth arc, the story felt more as though it was following two lines that were lightly joined together. The switch in tone mid-way through the piece came across as abrupt and awkward. Though there had been hints that all was not as it seemed in the earlier scenes, there was too heavy-handed an introduction of darker elements later in the play for this to balance with the light comedy of the start. In addition to this, the script would benefit from generous editing in places. At times, such as one particular scene in which the characters discuss urban legends, the dialogue and action dragged, losing the audience’s attention.
With an interesting and entertaining root idea, Taboo takes an almost-there script and puts it on stage with skill and vivacity.
Taboo runs at The New Theatre until 27th February.