views from the gods

saints and sinners of the stage and screen

Starting Tomorrow
Etcetera Theatre
10th August 2015


Publicity image for Starting Tomorrow

Photography provided by M.E. Productions

As any Londoner will agree, 4am at any bus stop in our city is fairly grim. You can just about cope with the bus during the day, but the closer it gets to sunrise, the less frequently the night bus comes and the grumpier the driver on it. Unfortunately for Laura (Kayden Jayne), 4am at a bus stop in London is exactly where she's ended up. Tired, drunk, alone and hangry (believe it, never has the adjective been more appropriate), this Welsh party girl is full of rage. Her best friend Kim (Jemma Carlisle) rides to her rescue, together with new friend Trev (Robert Hook) and some more booze. Maybe things are on the up - it's 4am, anything could happen.

Jayne not only stars in Starting Tomorrow, she's the playwright and director. That makes sense, because Laura is easily the most believable protagonist. She has all the self-righteous anger that being completely trollied brings, and stumbles and fumbles with a deliberate lack of co-ordination which has been perfectly staged. I'm not sure how much mileage there is in a sequel, it's a fairly self-contained hour with a brilliant ending, but I enjoyed spending time with Laura so much I'd love to see her recycled somehow, rather than this be the end of the line for her.

Although Laura is very much played for laughs, that's not to say the character has not been fleshed-out. This contrasts with Agnieszka (Paulina Stradowska) who has been written in purely to be silly, and whose obsession with her potential future husbands does makes her come across as quite two-dimensional at times. Micheal (Andres Ortiz) has been created for a similar reason, with his passion for the environment and cheesy pop music also making him a figure of fun. However, Agnieszka and Micheal do deliver on this promise of comedy, with their footwork a highlight of the piece.

Micheal and Agnieszka illustrating the plight of bees to the dulcet tones of Miley Cyrus singing Wrecking Ball can only be described as a guilty pleasure. The choreography is intentionally so pitifully awful, with the humour exacerbated thanks to Agnieszka's sound effects, that I've actually seen this show twice purely to see this one scene again.

The Etcetera is a smaller space, but Jayne directs the action as if the show were still taking place at Camden People's Theatre, which is where the production opened, and where it's returning after its run above The Oxford Arms. This makes the front row a risky place to sit, with any audience members choosing to get as up close as possible, running the risk of a limb getting them in the face. Not a lot needs to change, but Jayne just needs to be a little bit more aware of the differences between her two venues.

Starting Tomorrow will make you chuckle when you first see it, and still tickle you the morning after. It's not always the most intellectually challenging piece, but there are some wonderful finishing touches, and an angry Welsh woman who is liable to attack you if you don't come see this show or buy her a kebab. Doing both is probably an option.

Starting Tomorrow ran from 4th to 6th August at Camden People's Theatre, opened on 10th August and runs until 12th August at the Etcetera Theatre and runs on 15th August 2015 at Camden People's Theatre, as part of the Camden Fringe.

Nearest tube station: Camden Town (Northern)

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