The last time I went to watch a performance at The King’s Head Theatre was not a pleasant experience, as I was faced with the worst adaptation of The Duchess of Malfi I have ever seen. Luckily this time around (thanks to the lovely officialtheatre.com) I was fortunate enough to see the theatre company Savio(u)r’s performance of Autobahn, which was actually quite great.
The play, written by Neil LaBute, is made up of seven different dualogues and monologues, all set in the front seats of different cars, in different parts of America. The darkly comic scenarios are explored perfectly by LaBute’s language, who lets the stories of the characters unfold quickly, so we are drawn in to the scenes straight away. We are introduced to a mother driving her daughter home from rehab, we go on to watch a woman trying to explain to her husband that she may or may not have been unfaithful to him, and the play concludes with a middle-aged couple who reveal a darker side to their seemingly normal lives.
The Savio(u)r team are a brilliant ensemble. In particular, Zoe Swenson-Graham’s portrayals of her characters was very entertaining to watch. She is a great performer who was able to switch effortlessly between each of the roles, without losing the audience’s interest. I loved her as the crazy stalker teenager who was afraid of being dumped by Tom Slatter’s College student. The two were actually hilarious. I also really enjoyed Sharon Maughan manipulate language in order to prevent Henry Everett from finding out the truth about her stay at a hotel, where she definitely, possibly, maybe didn’t cheat on him.
What made Autobahn so enjoyable to watch was the small bursts of energy each piece brought. I haven’t seen a play that combines a series of episodic stories since watching university performances, so this was very refreshing. I think this device made the play engaging from beginning to end. This, combined with the great cast made the show superb. The only downside to this night was the incredibly hot auditorium. My advice is take a few bottles of water in with you to see this show, or even a mini fan. When you move past the heat, Autobahn is hilarious and very enjoyable, a definite must see.