Theatre Review - Free Fall

Two lonely souls meet at the Dartford Crossing: Andrea (Molly Roberts) is contemplating throwing herself off the bridge. Roland (Maynard Eziashi), a night watchman who supervises the toll machines, is her unlikely saviour.

Over the course of a night they discuss their pasts, hopes and their fears and realise that they have more in common than they first suspected.

A 23-year-old single mother, Andrea suffers from depression and has done time in prison. Her young son lives with his gran.

Vinay Patel’s engaging, bitter-sweet play, presented by Poleroid Theatre, turns on whether Roland will manage to dissuade Andrea from her suicidal mission.

At first, he suggests alternative bridges (away from his turf) and other means of suicide (asphyxiation in her car). He even offers her money for a therapist. Andrea, meanwhile, tries to save Roland from his dead-end job and prompts him to attempt reconciliation with his estranged son.

Patel makes some interesting observations about loneliness, the current climate for white-collar workers, the mechanisation of jobs and the increasing alienation of the poor. However, the stacking of dominoes, ready meals and the references to popular TV drama series feels rather downbeat material for the stage.

Bethany Pitts offers solid direction and Petra Hjortsberg’s versatile set cleverly conceals various props. Eziashi is hugely sympathetic as Roland but Roberts’ portrayal of an angry young mum feels slightly forced leading us to feel exasperation rather than compassion for her plight.

It’s an uneven but affecting production.

Pleasance Theatre - running until 1 November

Originally published by the Camden New Journal