Much of the pleasure of going to the theatre is in the variety, and after gorging myself with Shakespeare, Marlowe and Ibsen in recent weeks, the idea of a sharp contemporary comedy was very appealing. These were my thoughts on my way to the Hampstead theatre on Monday evening but unfortunately Raving, written by Simon Paisley Day and directed by Edward Hall, is not that play. The story of three couples spending a weekend in a remote Welsh cottage could have been material for sharp observations, instead it becomes the ground of an aimless exercise echoing bad sitcoms.
Initial signs were not good. An early joke is about parenthood, how anyone can have children while driving a car requires a licence. I have cringed at that joke even in parties where everyone was too drunk for semi-coherent thought, let alone sharp one-liners. But I was prepared to overlook early problems, hoping the play would hit its stride. Sadly this didn’t happen.