The Gulf @ Tristan Bates Theatre*

Rating: ⭐⭐
Tickets and more information:
Running until: 5th May 2018
Production photos by: Rachael Cummings

Audrey Cefaly’s play The Gulf is making its European premiere at the very intimate Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden. The play follows Kendra and Betty, a couple who spend the entire play on a boat being hostile to each other. And that’s pretty much all that happens over the course of 90 minutes.

Louisa Lytton and Anna Acton, The Gulf, courtesay of Rachael Cummings (2)

The Gulf is such a slow burner that it takes absolutely ages for the characters to come alive. And by the time they do, I just didn’t care for them. It’s about ten minutes from the end that you find out why Kendra is so hostile towards Betty and even then it feels like a “plot twist” that has arrived out of nowhere. Or that the writer needed a reason for these two characters to confront something. The Gulf stars Louisa Lytton as Kendra and Anna Acton as Betty. Individually, they’re great and they do try their best but they ultimately lack chemistry together, which is pretty vital in an intimate play like this.

Louisa Lytton and Anna Acton, The Gulf, courtesay of Rachael Cummings (5)

The lighting by designer Mitchell Reeve creates an atmosphere of being on the Alabama coast with these two characters. The decision to enable the audience sit around the action enhances the intimacy between the actors and audience. But to be honest, this was one of the few positives I could find in a play. It takes a lot for me to disconnect from a play and yet I found myself doing this frequently. It’s great that London theatre wants to expand and start producing shows that show representation of people outside of the white gay males along the LGBTQ* spectrum. I just wish it was a good show they put on instead.

Until next time,


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