One of the nicest things which has happened this month is a number of productions left homeless with the cancellation of this year’s VAULT Festival being offered venues elsewhere, and one such show is In The Heat of That Night, written by Sérgio Roveri.
Streamed live from The Space on 30 January, this play feels like a cross between Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Abigail’s Party, except in this case Mike and Sue’s guests, Henry and Dorothy, can only be seen by them.
This two-hander, directed and produced by Andrea Lavio and Mateus Monteiro, sparkles as the imaginary guests cause absolute havoc, sparked by one of Mike’s (Blake Aidan) unfortunate jokes. Sue (Hannah Douglas) is over solicitous of her guests at the start, but underneath there is a streak of envy and unhappiness she struggles to control.
What starts as quite a lighthearted piece as the couple get ready for a night with the friends they haven’t seen for a while morphs into something darker, as Sue and Mike’s relationship starts to show its cracks, and Dorothy’s big secret causes problems to suddenly spiral out of control.
There are moments which could be further developed – issues around climate change, which seem to be a major topic but which seems to get left behind as Henry displays some particularly worrying behaviour on a new rug.
Douglas and Aidan prove to be masters of mime, bringing their imaginary cast colleagues to life with a quick brush of the coat, a compliment, or an aside. A samba routine is especially enjoyable, while the awkwardness of friends and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ is conveyed with ease.
I found this a particularly effective livestream from the venue, with good use of camera angles throughout and a real sense of space. Definitely a hit on my home screen.
You can watch In The Heat of That Night live on stage at The Space until 2 February – book your tickets here. The livestream ran for one night only, on 30 January.
Image credit: Steve Gregson