The Straight and Narrow by InPlayers – a review

Theatre is alive and kicking in Amsterdam, but mostly in Dutch. Once in a while an international theatre company visits the city, for example at the Holland Festival. But if you need your shot of English language theatre, there are a few semi-professional theatre groups in Amsterdam. We went to a performance by InPlayers the oldest English language theatre group in the city.

The play and players at hand

InPlayers performed the play “The Straight and Narrow” written by Jimmie Chinn. The performance was held in the Polanen theatre. This is a small, cosy neighborhood theatre in the western part of the city. The actors are an international cast of people living and working in Amsterdam, who love to act. And they did with great enthusiasm in this play.

The play centre on partners Bob and Jeff  who return from a holiday in Malta. They are met in their house by Bob’s family: his mother Vera, his sisters Nona and Lois and later on by their husbands. There is tension in the air, because of Vera’s overbearing presence in her children’s lives, while still ignoring the fact is gay. Because of Nona’s marriage crisis. But most of all because of the tension in the relationship of Bob and Jeff. What happened during the holiday? And is Jeff going to leave Bob, for this woman?

The solid script slowly builds up to a hilarious and dramatic crisis. In the end  almost all the family relationships are resolved. Or is there resolve? Events start to come to a boiling point when Jeffrey admits to his sister in law that something important is missing in his relation with Robert: children. In fact he found out he has a daughter he had never seen.

InPlayers standing their ground

What makes the play fun (apart from the dialogue) is the technique to let Bob step out of the scenes and talk to the audience. In his brief audience talks he comments of what just happened, is going to happen or what happened during the holiday. It gives you almost the sense of watching a sports game.

The whole set is simple and effective. The whole play is set in the living room and with subtle lighting switches the focus changes between the dialogue and the comments by Bob.

All the players stood their ground and made the characters believable and true. The comic timing was impeccable, making every punch line in the script land without halting the play. We enjoyed the play very much. It shows that a good script in the hands of a group of enthusiastic and talented amateurs makes a good play. Watch the Facebook page of InPlayers to see if they got an event going on when you are in town.