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Review: The Argument is another success for the Company of Ten

PUBLISHED: 15:19 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:28 24 April 2018

The Argument at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. [Picture: Nick Clarke]

The Argument at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. [Picture: Nick Clarke]

Abbey Theatre

Madeleine Burton reviews The Argument in St Albans.

I would defy anyone in the audience at the Abbey Theatre Studio for the Company of Ten’s current production The Argument not to identify with something in the play.

For William Boyd’s dark comedy casts a really close light on relationships – not just between husband and wife but also parents and friends sucked into a marital maelstrom.

It demonstrates the difference between various relationships and how difficult it is sometimes to hear the truth.

And all the time, the cast is perceived to be drinking copious amounts of alcohol – and what influence that can have is another tendril in a fascinating play.

The Argument, as its name suggests, stems from an argument between married couple Meredith and Pip that leads to far more grief than either of them could ever have anticipated.

Sucked into the marital malfunction are Meredith’s parents, Chloe and Frank, and friends Tony and Jane.

It is played out in 10 parts without an interval, and because of the way the Studio has been laid out for this production, the audience feels very much part of the domestic turmoil.

Angharad Pugh-Jones as the analytical Meredith and Stuart Hurford as her erudite but not so academic husband Pip bring a huge believability to their roles.

There is a marked contrast between their three-year marriage and the 36 years of wedded bliss enjoyed by Chloe, played by Lesley Gordon, and Frank, Tony Bradburn.

Both are straight-talking – Chloe by nature, Frank when pushed by his wife – and their performances are first-rate.

Making up the excellent cast are Ben Kenyon as Tony – not Meredith’s greatest fan – and Jenny Kilcast as Meredith’s friend Jane, who digs herself into a hole and then keeps on digging.

The upshot of the play is that only two people really know what goes on in a marriage – and maybe they don’t really know either.

The Argument is directed by veteran Company of Ten director Terry Prince and all his experience shows in the way this gripping production is played out.

It is another success for the Company of Ten that has been going from strength to strength this season, particularly in its Studio productions.

The Argument has already completely sold out and because of the demand, the Company of Ten has taken the unusual step of slotting in a second matinee at 2.30pm this Saturday.

Tickets can be obtained from the box office at www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call 01727 857861.

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