Two Sides of the Curtain
theSpace on North Bridge
Erich and Ada are in love; this would be fine, were it not for the fact that Ada lives in East Berlin, while Erich is from West Berlin. That would be enough to throw a spanner in the works of any relationship, however, to compound matters, Erich has also somehow been stepping back in time every time he crosses the border of the wall.
There's a neat little concept behind Two Sides of the Curtain, taking the basic premise of a Westerner trying to rescue his East-born lover and throwing a time-travel element into the mix, compounding the differences between ideology and mindset.
There's a charmingly selfish naïvety to Erich's base assumptions that, as a future-man from the far off days of the 1980s, he knows best for Ada's future. While Ada's loyalty to her family and her home clash with her dreams of a free and open future.
The titular curtain is a nice touch, as the plot not only revolves around the Iron Curtain of the cold war, but also the view from a particular window, which has a different view from each time period.
However, the play does suffer some drawbacks, largely due to the fact that, despite the 50-minute runtime, the piece feels alternatively rushed and dragging. This is in part because of the in media res opening, where we encounter the couple at the moment Erich chooses to reveal the truth about his time travelling.
In doing so, the teasing out of the entire situation to the audience feels slow and variously the characters argue in circles with what feels like padded dialogue, only to suddenly jump forwards unspecified amounts of time to the next scene, where the same situation arises.
It's certainly not a bad play and, as one of the most reasonably priced I've seen in years, worth considering, but this feels like a work in progress or a truncated version of something bigger rather than a complete experience.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan