Review – The Way, Cosmos Theatre Company, Flash Festival, University of Northampton 3rd Year Acting Students, Castle Hill, Northampton, 4h April 2019

Flash FestivalSometimes an uncomplicated, honest, one-person monologue can be more eloquent about the human condition than any classical four-act play. One such theatrical delight is Cosmos Theatre’s The Way. Vicky lies in bed, the morning after a night before, still with her make-up on, head pounding (although it could be worse), with no idea where she’s left her phone. Once she gets her act together there’s the inevitable voicemail from her mother. Which contains bad news. Vicky’s childhood friend – whom she hasn’t spoken to for ages because of some unspecified argument – has been diagnosed with cancer. Vicky’s devastated at what she hears. Is there any way of healing their rift?

The WayBy the time you get to my age, gentle reader, you lose count of the times when you said to yourself, “I wonder how so-and-do is doing, I really ought to get in touch”. But you don’t. And then you discover that they’ve died. And you never get that chance again. If you love someone – even if it makes you sound ridiculous – tell them. Because one day, you won’t be able to; and maybe they never knew. This is the prospect that Vicky faces; can she let her friend know that she held that dispute against her into the grave? Was it really that serious an argument?

Louise AkroydLouise Akroyd is a complete delight as Vicky. All messy and bed-worn at first, you can’t get much more unglamorous than Vicky’s initial appearance; but as we discover her personality, her inner beauty shines through. At times you wonder if she’s simply talking to herself, or if she’s addressing us directly through the fourth wall, or if it’s a mixture of the two. She has a wonderfully honest and confiding way of unfolding Vicky’s history and conflicts. Her performance is a closely-observed study of a young woman shocked into doing something she said she’d never do – and in the end, she’s so glad she did.

Simple, quiet, unassuming but full of integrity and honesty, this is a beautifully written and delivered dramatic monologue that will tear at your heartstrings. A mini-masterpiece!