BWW Reviews: ANOTHER WAY, Cockpit Theatre, September 13 2013
Toby and Sam are making movies, one for art, the other for money. Sam's sister Viv is dating Alex, who's deep into cycles of chemotherapy. Toby doesn't get on too well with part-time publicist / full-time graphic novelist Oliver, who is getting on just fine with thirty-something woman on the rebound Carrie. It's not quite La Ronde, but as the lives of these lovers - some platonic, some rather more - curve towards and away from each other in contemporary London, their stories are told through conversations and song.
If that makes Another Way (at the Cockpit Theatre until 5 October) sound like an upmarket soap with power ballads, that's pretty much what it is - but no less engaging for that. West End star Julie Atherton is cast perfectly as Carrie - her anxiety about making another mistake with men gradually chipped away by Oliver's (Andy Coxon) unexpected devotion. Bart Edwards is laddishly funny as shagger Toby - and if he doesn't quite pull off his final scene, well, that's more a fault with a script by Sarah Henley and Tori Allen-Martin that's rather more comfortable with female voices than male. Aiden Crawford's comic timing is excellent as the idealist Sam and Matthew Collyer catches the contradictions of a young man with cancer very well. Ria Cherrelle Horsford is also very good as Viv, but hers is the most underwritten part and one has the feeling that she's champing at the bit to do more.
Twenty year old songwriter Benedict has provided all six actors with big ballsy anthems and they deliver them well - though they hardly need the mics in a space where they are never more than 15 metres from the most distant member of the audience. If he's doing this at 20, it'll be most interesting to see what he's doing at 30.
Another Way - with its admirably upbeat message, its relentlessly contemporary referencing of popular culture and its street argot - is the theatrical equivalent of a good date movie. It doesn't leave you pondering the meaning of it all, but, at 80 minutes or so all-through, there's plenty of time to go out to dinner after and, over a glass or two, find out if you've been as lucky as these three couples, each finding just what they need.