Reviewed by Jo Hardy
Tennis Elbow is written by Scottish play writer John Byrne for sound stage and is presented by naked productions .It runs for ninety minutes with a twenty minute interval. Sound stage do a great job of making a streaming feel as much like a real theatre experience as possible. While waiting for the show to begin you see shots of people arriving, tickets and seats and hear the mumbling of a crowd gathering. There’s even a bell and the announcement to take your seat before the curtain opens.
In flash backs the play follows the life of Pamela Crichton – Capers a budding writer and artist. It starts with her in high school at “Our Lady of Perpetual Succour”. This part is very what I would call “jolly hockey sticks”. Everybody’s name ends in ers, ie the main character is called Pammers.
It then jumps to her time at Oxford, stressing it was at a lesser known college. After that she becomes a stretcher bearer in the Second World War and in the scene before the interval we find her in Holloway prison having been arrested for being an illegitimate child of a German.
I was ready for an interval and soundstage did their bit to provide some atmospheric sound effects of people milling about in the foyer of a theatre during the interval. I was watching this at home and the twenty minutes given was a bit too long for me. When the curtains closed there was an invitation to join the virtual bar which may of filled the time but it didn’t work on my iPad. .I found it difficult to get back into the story for the second part and hard to follow. I won’t spoil it for anyone and reveal the ending but I have to say I was ready for it to end. It went on a bit too long for me. For this story I would of prefered a visual production.
There are a few amusing parts and lots of “play on words”, but there were times when I wasn’t sure if the play was meant to be a comedy or not. The main character Pam is played by Kirsty Stuart. There are a total of ten people in the cast with some performers playing more than one part and a creative team of seven including the writer. An added extra is a post show talk that is available after each show.
In an industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic, online streaming is a great way to support the art and also a way for us to get a hit of theatre until the time comes when we are allowed back in. Fingers crossed it’s not too long.
Tennis Elbow is available online until 8th May from lyceum.org.uk. Tickets prices are from £15 unless you managed to secure an early bird price. Both sites also do a package price for watching all the sound stage productions.