This is Not Right at Wilton’s Music Hall
Wilton’s Music Hall, London’s most stunning theatre (and if anyone says differently, they’re wrong), is filled with violin music and barking dogs in John Godber’s This is not Right. The play follows Holly Parker (Martha Godber), growing up with her parents on a council estate in Hull. Despite non-stop partying, she does very well at school and eventually escapes East Yorkshire to go to university. But soon things get complicated with her overprotective father (Jamie Smelt).
The show opens with a violinist (Sophie Bevan), framed by dramatic lighting. She starts to play and, especially against the backdrop of Wilton’s, it’s beautiful – so much so that when the show moves on it’s a little disappointing.
Having been written by the great Godber, it’s unsurprising that the characters are rich and the dialogue is fantastic. Some parts are genuinely funny, others genuinely moving. But the overall narrative feels a little broken. What is it ultimately trying to say? It’s unclear, as the show jumps around, giving only half-formed opinions on poverty, xenophobia, sexism, how rubbish Hull is, crime, noisy neighbours and more. Perhaps it’s meant to be as muddled as life itself. But the great individual scenes don’t quite add up to a satisfying story.
Martha Godber (the playwright’s daughter) totally rocks it as both Holly and her mother. The young woman is a force onstage and brilliant to watch. But that’s not to say the rest of the cast aren’t also great. Bevan’s violin is a perfect addition, elevating the show, and Smelt is equal parts funny and sweet as the loving, insecure dad.
Each individual element of the play is wonderful. But it’s ultimately somewhat let down by its confused story. This is not Right is a series of gripping moments that don’t quite seem to come together.
This is Not Right is at Wilton’s Music Hall from 1st October until 5th October 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.