4 October 2021

Going The Distance Review

After the difficult last 20 months or so that theatres up and down the country have and continue to face, Going The Distance, is a touching celebration of theatre itself as it mirrors the plight venues up and down the country have and continue to face.

The digital piece written by Henry Filloux-Bennett and Yasmeen Khan tells of the fictional Matchborough Theatre community who in lockdown are facing the real prospect of closure. A Zoom meeting, featuring all the usual technical mishaps, between chairman Frank, treasurer Maggie, and marketing, communications, digital, and social media coordinator Rae sets the ball in motion as Maggie suggests staging a production with local artists where all profits would go back into the venue.

Emma McDonald as Gail.


The piece explores the rollercoaster all involved go through to get the piece from page to stage leading to some great comical moments as these wonderfully fleshed-out characters are brought to life. From the fractured relationship between ex-husband and wife director and writer to a Diva who threatens to make the whole thing fall in on itself. It moves throughout all the processes including auditions and technical rehearsals and the occasional emergency meeting.

There are fantastic performances by all involved but there's a standout turn from Sarah Hadland as Rae, Hadland captures the snobbish nature of the role, looking down on everything with real comedic skill. The most touching of the performances comes from Penny Ryder as Maggie, she captures the role so perfectly, she is believable and relatable and her moving monologue about what the theatre means to her and her previous roles will have you grabbing for a tissue. Matthew Kelly as chairman and director Frank shines in every moment, especially in moments of frustration.

Penny Ryder as Maggie.

Director Felicity Montagu allows for the performers to beautifully capture the relationships between each other. The relationship between Gail (Emma McDonald) and Kem (Merch Husey) is the heart of the piece and rounds up with a lovely rendition of 'Over The Rainbow'. Kem, a local shopkeeper, encourages Gail to take the opportunity to audition and take her chance to get out of the shop.

All in all, this is a wholesome watch. It captures the emotion that you know has been felt in theatres up and down the country, the uncertainty places have faced where some places have and won't be able to re-open. A lovely watch.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ a delightful comic love letter to theatre.

Going The Distance is streaming online until Saturday 17th October and supports venues up and down the country. Visit https://goingthedistanceplay.com/ to book.

Sarah Hadland (Rae) and Shobna Gulati (Vic) 


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