Passing Through @ Tron
Romance in the Tron bar
There is much to like about this charming new romantic comedy by Peapod Productions. Written by Alistair Rutherford, Passing Through is full of cracking one-liners and delightful humour.
Directed by Andy Corelli, it’s set in the atmospheric Victorian Bar at the Tron. Both magician Tommy (Philip Kingscott) and Alice (Anna Guthrie) are having a bad night when they meet. He’s just been chucked off the Dockers Social Club stage and she’s been stood up. Their chance encounter is the starting point of the play.
One of the greatest assets of Passing Through is its theatricality, which is totally embraced by the actors. Playing two characters each, they control the stage, breaking the fourth wall to interact with the audience and move the action along.
The audience also finds itself playing an enjoyable role during the course of the evening. From creating a rainy night to some staged heckling, the (non-threatening) audience participation was well directed by the actors and totally adds to the shared experience of the evening. One of my favourite moments in the play was the actor’s command to his newly created spaghetti western saloon doors: “open, my lovely doors.” When done in such a gentle way the audience is sweetly complicit in the anarchy of breaking down the fourth wall.
While some moments felt a bit forced and the ending seemed a little rushed, both actors are genial and charming. Surprisingly I found the secondary characters more compelling. ‘Romantic’ Richard was a hoot with his unconventional secret passion and Tracey was a force of nature to be reckoned with. However, their characters did not develop. In contrast, Tommy and Alice’s dreams were challenged and in the process both matured.
Magic was an apt metaphor for the play. Dreams and romance are illusory but can be made real. As Tommy improves his magic skills (with some nicely performed tricks from Kingscott) we are reminded that just as a coin passes through a glass and both Alice and Tommy pass through the same bar, life is a journey rather than a destination. Magic is around us and we can be touched by it at any time.