The Baron’s Court Theatre in London invites its audience to a one-of-a-kind event: a divorce party. In “All’s Well That Ends,” we witness the dissolution of the relationship between Daria and Radu, a married couple who have decided to part ways. What stands out about the play is its refusal to sugarcoat the reality of romantic relationships. This is no typical rom-com, but rather a portrayal of a flawed relationship from the start, replete with ups and downs.
Even the typically romantic engagement unfolds in an unconventional, loud club setting, steering clear of the grand romantic gestures we often see on stage. It’s a narrative that feels closer to something you might hear from your friends rather than the idealised stories of love and romance we’re (usually) accustomed to.
Engaging Interactive Moments
What sets “All’s Well That Ends” apart is its interactive approach. All the typical theatre walls are broken – and stay like this until the very end. The audience is made to feel like actual guests at a divorce party, complete with finger food, drinks, and speeches. Nico Marica (Daria) and Gerardo Cabal (Radu) continuously engage with the audience, seeking confirmation of their ideas and thoughts, ensuring that the “party” atmosphere remains throughout the show. I enjoyed how relaxed the introductory part of the show was – and I’m usually the first to hide the moment when interactions with the audience happen. So, I suppose, take it as a big plus 🙂
Intimate, Uncomfortable Proximity
The small size of the theatre brings the audience uncomfortably close to the action, particularly during an important but unsettling sex scene. With just three rows of seating, no matter where you sit, you’re practically on the stage. This proximity intensifies the emotional impact but might make some viewers squirm in their seats (there are some on-stage costume changes, and you might find yourself in front of the… action).
However, not every moment hits the mark. Some scenes, like the vodka-drinking/child-naming exercise, feel unnecessarily extended, and the frequent changes of outfits are somewhat perplexing.
While the play captures the essence of friendship, the depth of the romantic connection between the lead actors sometimes feels lacking. Perhaps it’s because the story picks up when the couple is already on the brink of splitting, making the full romantic connection more challenging to portray. Both actors feel very comfortable with each other and do their best to deliver the story – but we don’t really get to dive deeper into both characters’ lives (especially before they’ve met), which makes it difficult to truly understand their motivations and needs.
Cultural Authenticity and an Unforgettable Finale
The script’s Romanian cultural references add a unique layer to the play, making it clear that the story is set within an immigrant context. It all leads to an enjoyable ending where promises are made to forget the past.
This witty, slightly dark play might not be easily forgotten, defying the promise it makes and delivering a distinctive theatrical experience that stands out from the crowd.
*I received the ticket to see the show in exchange for an honest review
All’s Well That Ends
17 – 21 October 2023, 7.30 pm
by Kibo Productions
Written by Andreea Tănase
Directed by Leo Băcica