Review: The Song of Lunch at Pleasance Courtyard

As British as it gets, The Song of Lunch is a beautifully written play, packed full of witty, comic observations of the British dining experience and guaranteed lighthearted laughs. 

Taken from Costa Award winner Christopher Reid’s poem of the same name, The Song of Lunch explores a failed attempt to rekindle a lost love between a man (Robert Bathurst) and his old flame (Rebecca Johnson). Set in a familiar, weathered Italian restaurant, Bathurst hilariously narrates every thought of his encounter as the two share lunch and confront their long-departed relationship.

Delivering a flurry of impeccably articulated dialogue, Robert Bathurst’s exceptional narration and comic timing are perfect. Bordering on manic at times, each alliterative soliloquy is quick paced, with the deliberate lack of pauses allowing it to gather momentum. His awkward interactions with Johnson are mirrored with frantic hand gestures and nervous posture, providing great comic value.

Rebecca Johnson gives an honest portrayal of a woman who has indulged nostalgia and regretted it. Understatedly sexy, Johnson’s dialogue is sparse but always sharp, communicating confidence with every line.

The restaurant’s lacklustre atmosphere is depicted in illustrations cast onto a screen at the back of the stage. While Bathurst interacts with the series of projections seamlessly, they add little to the actual performance, which, with it’s climactic dialogue and punchy delivery, would be just as strong with a minimalist set.

For a show that provides easy laughs, The Song of Lunch has the perfect mix of relatable characters and quick-witted observations, making for an enjoyable lunchtime comedy.

The Song of Lunch, Pleasance Courtyard, 4-27 Aug (not 13), 2.20pm

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