Losing the Night at the Roundhouse
Cecilia Knapp’s Losing the Night, a fine play with plenty of great elements, hits Camden’s Roundhouse this month with its tale of grief. The show takes place in a pub. Mitch has just got a job there, working with her old friend Liam, who she hasn’t spoken to since they lost Dylan a year ago. The pair’s discussion quickly turns to their friend.
“For advice and support on the issues raised in the show, please check out the mental health charity CALM,” the programme states. But it’s not very clear what those issues are – grief and bereavement? Suicide? The characters seem to deal with Dylan’s death fairly well – it doesn’t feel like the serious issues bereavement can cause are covered at all. While it’s clear that Dylan took his own life, we never really find out why, or how he felt, or what he was going through. The result is that the issue of suicide feels a little brushed over, as if it’s inconsequential how Dylan died.
And maybe that’s what prevents this play from being truly great: that it doesn’t quite know what it’s saying. Or it’s trying to say so much that none of it gets enough detail. Because everything else about Losing the Night is brilliant.
Knapp is a fantastic writer. More wit and charm is packed into this short show than in most productions twice its length. The characters’ development, too, is superb. They’re familiar and nostalgic, like real people you once you knew – or perhaps a part of yourself. Of course, adding to the strength of these characters are actors Olivia Dowd (Mitch) and Jim Caesar (Liam), whose performances are absolutely spot-on.
There’s a lot to celebrate about Losing the Night and ultimately it’s a thoroughly enjoyable play. But it paints a little too broadly across some of its main themes.
Losing the Night is at the Roundhouse from 20th November until 22nd November 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Losing the Night here: