Theatre Critic and Journalist

Review: Reunion, Jermyn Street Theatre

Review: Reunion, Jermyn Street Theatre

Published in Time Out, 23.04.2012

Two years after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease, Raymond wants to end his life. However, doing so requires the co-operation of his wife Antonia, a committed Catholic.

Reunion‘s impact comes from its subject rather than John Caine’s script. His two-hander mostly consists of ping pong debate during a single day, at the end of which (spoiler alert) Antonia capitulates. Presumably her head gives way to her heart, but her U-turn is implausibly sudden.

Real-life husband and wife Peter Guinness and Roberta Taylor play against the text to save it from sentimentality and clunkiness. It’s to their great credit – and that of director Anthony Biggs – that this is relatively watchable.

That said, there is a point at which Caine’s script threatens to become really interesting. Dredging through their past, Antonia recalls her abortion and his affair, and suddenly her motives become unclear. Is religion a cover? Is her refusal punishment or penance? What a shame Caine drops such specificity for lazy, surefire sentiment.

Photograph: Jermyn Street Theatre

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