Review: Lucky Seven

Ordinary people, ordinary show


By John Nathan, November 6, 2008
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Susannah Harker, David Kennedy and Jonny Weir feel the tension of being constantly on camera in Lucky Seven

Susannah Harker, David Kennedy and Jonny Weir feel the tension of being constantly on camera in Lucky Seven

Hampstead Theatre, London NW3

There is a powerful poignancy in watching a child's hope morph into an adult's disappointment. But poignancy is a quality conspicuously absent from Alexis Zegerman's comedy.

Inspired by Seven Up!, the television series that famously documented the lives of several people from their childhood, this cleverly constructed play leaps back and forth between its characters' early adulthood and middle-age.

The action is set in a cavernous TV studio where upper-class Catherine (Susannah Harker), middle-class archivist Tom (Jonny Weir), and Alan (David Kennedy), a working-class Jewish knicker salesman from the East End, wait for their god-like director to turn up.

In a series of truncated scenes we see Alan's "shmutter" business go from boom to bust, and Tom reveal his secret love for Catherine, whose life journey starts as punk rock chick and continues towards that of a bored housewife.

This is part Waiting for Godot, and part Truman Show, revealing as it does the distorting effect of cameras when they are trained on ordinary lives. But Anthony Clark's plodding production makes little attempt to cash in on the invention and wit of the writing. The opportunities supplied by the structure of Zegerman's play to have fun with changes in fashion and attitudes are wastefully spurned.

Kennedy is charismatic as the Sir Alan Sugar-like Alan - more rough than diamond. But by the time he delivers the play's central lesson - "Your life stinks...that's entertainment," he barks at Tom - you feel their TV series should have been taken off the air years ago. (Tel: 020 7722 9301)

    Last updated: 6:16pm, November 6 2008