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  • Molly Obadiah

Review - Cold Water

Park Theatre

Playing until 01 June 2024

Photo credit: Jake Bush

Review {AD-PR Gifted}

Cold Water follows the story of teaching assistant Emma (Julia Pilkington) and drama teacher Matt (Jolyon Coy) as they prepare for the school play, Chekhov’s The Seagull. The play begins with the intriguing premise of a younger woman returning to where she grew up after university, and become potentially entangled with someone in a more senior position, Matt.


The story meanders through with similarity to the narrative in The Seagull, with two characters growing closer as Matt attempts to support Emma with her ambitions on becoming an actor. While the setup promise and exploration of desire and personal growth, it ultimately failed to deliver a compelling narrative. The script fell short in following through with any substantial events or character transformations and interactions between Emma and Matt feel repetitive and unremarkable, leading to a sense of stagnation rather than anticipation. The dialogue, although occasionally clever, often drift into mundane conversation and scenes that should build tension or reveal deeper insights into the characters' motivations instead fell flat, leaving the audience waiting for something that never happened.


Through their performance, Emma’s mannerisms and awkward reactions painted the picture of a young woman wanting to pursue her dream of acting, asking questions and appearing to idolise the older and more mature drama teacher.  This juxtaposed Matt, who was clearly very confident having been to drama school himself. However, their efforts were undermined by the lack of dynamic storytelling, and their dialogue was uncomfortable at times. Emma's internal struggles and desires were hinted at but never fully explored, making it difficult to empathise with her journey or feel invested in the outcome.


The set design had transformed the stage into a school classroom, using minimalistic props such as chairs and a desk to set the scene, focusing attention on the characters and their interactions. However, the constant stream of props did little to enhance the narrative, with chairs, yoga mats and a rug being continuously laid out and put away, serving no clear purpose.


In summary, despite the potential in its premise, the play struggled to develop both the storyline and its characters, leaving a lot to interpretation and assumption. Although an intriguing storyline and concept, the production ultimately had very little progression, struggling to keep the audience engaged or emotionally invested.


Written and Directed by: Philippa Lawford

Produced by: Izzy Parriss

Translation by: Ilona Kohanchuk

Lighting Design by: Ed Saunders

Composed by: Laurie Blundell

Intimacy Direction by: Stellar Moss

Stage Manager: Eleanor Birdsall-Smith

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