Review: Power Play: The Empty Chair

A Hollywood after-party turns into a #MeToo confessional

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Power Play: The Empty Chair
Published 10 Aug 2018

Four Hollywood actors stumble back to one of their houses in Beverly Hills after an awards ceremony. One of them, Ingrid, is much older than the rest. Her husband Martin is notably absent. The other three are young and woke, but they care deeply for their older friend, who has suffered decades in a marriage to a man notorious for his affairs.

Ingrid refuses to leave Martin despite his confirmed reputation and her younger friends’ encouragement. Her refusal is dignified and firm, but as the evening wears on and they drink even more, this party turns into a confessional. With the audience on sofas and the floor of the living room of a New Town flat, the staging is close and the performances intimate.

There are issues with both the script and several of the production choices, however. All of the younger characters have reveals, but the conflict between them is minimal. Considering the content of these confessions, this makes little sense. The performances, made extremely small for the audience sitting only couple of feet away, are quiet and more akin to those on camera and the accent quality varies. Emotions generally don't carry or are forced and over-acted. There are times when the actors have their backs to the audience, which blocks views and comprehension.

The female-led show, though valid in its intent, doesn't add much to the #MeToo conversation. While it gives some level of voice to victims of this Harvey Weinstein-esque Martin, the production values and the script don't fully serve the theme.