One Hour Only

Sabrina Mahfouz

Underbelly

From 02 August 2012 to 26 August 2012

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

This year, Old Vic New Voices has brought a posse of plays to Underbelly. They promise an opportunity to see work by hot young playwrights and directors such as Sabrina Mahfouz and Matt Wilde who have worked together on this two-hander.

It is easy to have a mixed reaction to One Hour Only. A brief summary can be grossly misleading. Simply, the promised hour features a chat between two bright youngsters from East London.

Nadia Clifford plays Marly, a white student of forensic biology, who wants to work with the police on murder cases. Life is harder for Faraz Ayub’s Asian AJ, currently working as a taxi driver but hoping to become an engineer.

During the hour, the strangers discover an almost instant empathy. They happily chat about life, locality, careers and ambitions. They also explore the tricky subject of love and sex, ending the play getting on like a house on fire. 

It can be a bit wordy but gives viewers an impression of what makes youngsters like this tick.

This description, which may sound complete, misses a single point. Marly is a debutante prostitute and AJ an equally green customer. This has little relevance to the play, other than theoretically sexing it up a bit.