Review: A Bowl of Cherries - Charing Cross Theatre

A Bowl Of Cherries

Thursday 8th March 2012: Designed to examine life through a cycle of plays and songs, A Bowl of Cherries sadly morphs into an assortment of plots that never really develop. The piece is supposed to be led by two wartime ghosts but these fail to drive the cumulative plot forward leaving A Bowl of Cherries feeling distinctly average and falling victim to the latter part of the saying “Life is a bowl of cherries” but all the audience gets are the pits. 

Clare Buckfield & Graham Macduff
 As the wartime ghosts, Penny Riddle (Clare Buckfield) and Albert Farthing (Graham Macduff) are paired well but their own storyline is so weakly entwined with the 21st century lives they are observing that the ghosts seem to be there in an effort to force a link between the separate tales. 

The scenes in Act One lacked direction and felt confused. There were one or two scenes that dragged on too long with fairly predictable plots but on the whole it was pleasant, nothing to rave about yet not terrible either. Act Two was a slight improvement from the mediocrity of the previous Act. Gary Wilmot and Julie Jupp provided some much needed comedic elements that held the audience’s attention more successfully.

The sets changed smoothly - from living rooms to bedrooms with bars and holiday destinations in between – evolving seamlessly given the small stage available and the space available was used well to provide a credible setting.

Gary Wilmot
Overall, where A Bowl of Cherries lets itself down most is the book. There is a lot of work needed to develop this from what still feels like a workshop stage production. The story lacks pace and there is still an opportunity to create better links between the lives of the ghosts and their 21st century counterparts. The score does feel dated but this is perhaps in part because of the wartime theme that they are cultivating. The whole cast were good, aside from a couple of forgiveable flat notes, and there is potential to build a more credible show around the skeleton that currently exists.

With development, A Bowl of Cherries could become a good crossover production with much for audiences to identify with but for now it’s disjointed and at risk of quickly going by its use-by date.

Review by Louise Miles

A Bowl of Cherries

Charing Cross Theatre
The Arches 
Villiers Street

phone: 020 7907 7075
(booking fee applies)
(booking fee applies)
in person: Charing Cross Theatre
(no booking fee applies)

Tuesday March 6 - Saturday March 31

Monday - Saturday at 7.30pm
Saturday matinee at 4.30pm

Tickets: £29.50 £24.50 (concessions)