‘There are some great performances’: ALKALINE – Park Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews, Ticket recommendations by Shanine SalmonLeave a Comment

Park Theatre, London – until 4 August 2018

Alkaline is a tale of friendship, love and change, looking at what happens when relationships cling on by a thread and if they are worth fighting for.

Sophie is marrying Nick and has invited a long time if distant friend Sarah and her boyfriend Ali along for drinks and a catch up. Oh, and to inform Muslim convert Sarah that she isn’t to wear a hijab at the wedding.

The production continues on this awkward note. Sophie is casually Islamophobic, racist and slags off broken homes in front of the Muslim and recently separated Ali. Even the set is awkward, only three out of the four characters can sit down at any point and director Sarah Meadows’ blocking in Georgia de Grey’s set leaves a lot to be desired.

Stephanie Martin is an experienced writer but I am left unsure what she is trying to say, the inclusion of a consultant in Iman Quari is admirable but I don’t feel I learnt anything new about Islam, about these characters and their relationships. Choosing to stage this play from the viewpoint of the unhappy Sophie whose issues are never resolved for the audience is a mistake it never recovers from.

The addition of Aleesha, Ali’s ex-wife who uses their daughter’s eating disorders to get his attention from Sarah serves as an unnecessary B plotline in this 75-minute play, the expected conflict between various characters never comes to pass.

It is a real shame as there are great performances from Alan Mahon as the drug taking Nick who is losing patience with his fiance’s low mood and politically incorrect comments, Clare Cartwright as Sarah whose conversion to Islam and love for Ali brings her peace and Nitin Kundra as Ali, a man conflicted by his love for his children and his happiness with Sarah but EJ Martin and Reena Lalbihari are let down by this production in their characters of Sophie and Aleesha, who are underdeveloped and just seem to bring a toxicity (Sophie’s righteous speech about how easy it is to be liberal is a good point clumsily made) which is both irritating and at odds with the humour and warmth of the other characters combined with a lack of energy that seems to engulf the play. Forget Alkaline, this play is acidic.

Alkaline is on until 4 August https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/alkaline

Shanine Salmon on Twitter
Shanine Salmon
Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.
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Shanine Salmon on Twitter
Shanine Salmon
Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.