‘Are You Happy Now?’ – The Space Between Review

The continuing shutdown means that theatre doors are still closed up and down the country, with only open air theatres currently able to stage productions, but that does not mean that many creative minds are sleeping. No, there is still work going on, ideas flying around and new work being created every day. It turns out that nothing, not even a global pandemic, can stop theatre from happening and evolving. We were recently treated to a brand new musical short, The Space Between, written by David Hunter and Caroline Kay, put together over zoom and FaceTime, without the pair ever meeting in person.

In these strange times, many of us have become pretty used to keeping in touch over the internet, and this musical puts this new way of communication in the forefront as Hunter and Kay play Him and Her, a couple struggling to keep in touch over lockdown. I can imagine that this is a situation that many can relate to; a couple who had a falling out just before lockdown forced them apart. Hunter’s him is determined to somehow make the relationship work, event though they are not physically together, whilst Kay’s Her has a lot of thinking to do about everything, and lockdown has given her that time to think.

With three songs in its short 14 minute running time, The Space Between is a brilliantly constructed piece of work that is able to convey a great deal of emotion in such a short space. Filmed entirely over zoom, FaceTime and WhatsApp, we are automatically drawn into the little world of this relationship, and it is easy to feel for both of these characters. We see Him ranting to his friends about the state of his relationship before we see him trying his best to convince Her to come back, as soon as government guidelines allow of course.

The music is both charming and memorable, flowing nicely through the narrative as the action changes from face to face calls to a WhatsApp message being written out and deleted. It’s strange how we have become so familiar with these messaging apps and zoom calls, so much so that we can feel emotion in these things and relate to them on a high level. That is the real cleverness of this piece, the realism in it all. With the action focussing solely on the two performers in close up, without any distraction of anything around them, we somehow begin to feel for them both even though we hardly get to know them. We don’t know what the original argument was about, we don’t know why Her is having such deep thoughts about the relationship, but even without those details, it all somehow works. And I think that is a true show of the writing skills of Hunter and Kay.

In conclusion, The Space Between is a great showcase of how theatre can evolve and work no matter what. What Hunter and Kay have done to put together is believable and relatable little story that perfectly illustrates the struggles of a modern relationship, further complicated by the current global situation with lockdown and isolation. If this is what this talented pair can create without ever meeting in person, I would love to see what they can do when working together face to face, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this new creative dream team.

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