Henna Night

Amy Rosenthal
Facing Dawn Productions
theSpaces on the Mile

Amy Rosenthal’s 1999 tender dissection of a relationship break-up through the unlikely meeting of a former and new girlfriend is given a warm and heartfelt revival in this understated production, which shines due to its sincere performances.

It is probably the type of fringe show that could be labelled a gem, a simple domestic two-hander where Judith (Stephanie James) is confronted at home by her ex’s new girlfriend Ros (Lauren Garnham) after leaving a hysterical message on his answer phone the night before. While the style of Rosenthal’s jokes feels a little dated – the verbose sarcasm reminiscent of an era when Friends was the funniest thing on telly – her analysis of the roles each woman plays in the other’s past and future, and the unbreakable knot of jealousy each feels is timeless. Both Garnham and James create genuinely likable characters who develop in one other's estimation as they develop in ours.

There are no theatrical innovations or new staging techniques here, just sensitively-acted theatre which reaches out through its simple story and leaves a surprisingly poignant mark through its empathy with the most heartbreaking of experiences.

Reviewer: Lucy Ribchester