One Day When We Were Young

Nick Payne

Fundamental Theater Project

Assembly George Square Theatre

From 06 August 2015 to 31 August 2015

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

In a city where many of the new plays promise much but do not quite deliver, the best bet is often to resort to known quantities.

Following Constellations, Nick Payne is certainly that and his short play One Day When We Were Young is another example of the playwright's ability to get to the heart of a relationship.

In this case, he follows the on-off romance of Leonard and Violet across six decades.

We first meet the almost engaged couple, who tend to sound respectively like Lady Chatterley and Manners, in a WWII Bath hotel room. They are up to no good but have an explosive night.

Despite the engagement, when they next appear the best part of 20 years later, the meeting is distinctly uncomfortable as Violet is married while Leonard is limping and bitter.

He blames her for one of those reluctant wartime desertions that resulted from rumours of death which turned out to be untrue.

The final scene in an intense hour brings them together in old age. Their characters remain the same, though Valorie Curry ages more convincingly than Sam Underwood.

This is a time for final revelations and potential closure, which seems a possibility at the end of a well-written play given a worthy, small-scale production by Louisa Proske.