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Worlds End
16 August 2007

“The moment when Kat and Ben’s relationship ends and she moves out of his Primrose Hill flat. Sad, humorous and totally believable.

Is there no end to human beings being fascinated by themselves and their own  relationships? Apparently not, and this is a particularly well written example of the genre.

From the pen of Paul Sellar, I was gripped from start to finish, though, after a bad experience at another Venue, for a split second as I took my seat, I thought “not another one”!

This play is not just ‘another one’: it’s a special piece of writing. Also it is especially well played by a strong cast., the main contenders being Ben (Merryn Owen), strung up, vulnerable and probably inwardly kicking himself that the break-up was to a large extent on his head, and Kat (Fiona Button) who, after two years of his possessiveness and idleness, has had enough. A beautifully detailed performance, this: so many conflicting emotions flashing quickly through her mind, heart, eyes - every one as clear to us as crystal.

This was an extraordinarily focused performance. Owen’s performance too is a real tour de force; he never stops! The pace he sets for himself is amazing and his intensity never falters, and I found I became more and more sorry for him the more he wouldn’t let go. This was a totally convincing and very sad break-up – for both of them.

Monica Bertei (Thea), Kat’s friend and Jamie Belman (Josh), the new man hit the mood of embarrassment perfectly - having to help clear the flat when Ben deliberately stayed home to make things more awkward. Strong supporting performances these and the interaction between the four of them made World’s End a very watchable experience. The tension is frequently broken with humour.

As with the subject, the very realistic basement flat set caused my heart to sink for a moment. But only for a moment. The mass of props, boxes and bits and pieces (it must have been a Stage Manager’s nightmare there were so many!) were all necessary for the final clear-out - and the deconstruction of the relationship went hand-in-hand with the deconstruction of the set. The last item to be removed, and by Kat, was a box marked FRAGILE: certainly a comment on Ben’s emotional state which Merryn Owen played so well to the bitter end.

There are a good many shows these days performed by actors who don’t know how to speak the words they have been given and are content to dish audiences up with some kind of mumbling TV ‘naturalism’. The intrusion of ‘celebrities’ from other fields than theatre combined with limited experience of  live theatre probably means that is all they can offer and mistakenly seem satisfied with the result. Not so this cast: Paul Sellar’s play is as skilfully spoken and delivered as it has been written. Result: a gripping hour and twenty minutes.”