“What would you do to take control?”
Fractured timelines can be an interesting way to tell a story – fragmented shards of drama shuffled in a non-linear narrative, forcing audiences to piece together a throughline to the truth, such as it may exist. But in these cases, we are very much at the mercy of playwrights actually providing enough information to reconstruct enough of a plot. And sad to say, I’m not too sure that Fiona Doyle’s Abigail actually does that.
That’s not to say that we need to be given all of the answers, to have everything spelled out for us completely, but Abigail remains inscrutably vague to the end. It would be a fascinating exercise to reorder the script here, reconstruct Doyle’s writing to see if that really is the case but in its current state, directed by Joshua McTaggart over the course of an initially intriguing hour, the play still proves frustratingly ephemeral.
A man in his 40s meets a woman in her 20s in a Berlin airport and a relationship ensues, flashes of which are then presented to us – the romance and reality, the crash and burn, the middle, the end, the beginning. But whilst some things become clear across time, her childhood trauma, his curiosity to explore the world, far too much remains enigmatic and to put it bluntly, it becomes hard to engage any sort of real empathy.
Max Dorey’s set has a playful ingenuity that lends itself well to the treatment but ultimately, Tia Bannon and Mark Rose have too little to work with. Dialogue aims for the profound but free from context, it veers perilously close to meaningless, and Rose’s almost distractingly mumbled delivery acts as a further remove to getting closer to what is going on here.