Review: Right Place Wrong Time

Pippa Smith 25 November 2016

As we draw towards the end of term in a place that often feels steeped in misogyny, if you need somewhere to channel your feminist rage, Right Place Wrong Time is a viable outlet. Following the memory of journalist Claire Hollingworth, who witnessed the outbreak of World War Two but had her credit snatched by male counterpart Robin Hankey, Una McAllister’s original piece bears emotional and sociological depth that you won’t quite believe was crafted by a student. As we watch Hollingworth’s successes stripped from her again and again following the scoop of the century, and the characters untangle each truth and every lie, you’ll find yourself utterly captivated in the injustice of the story.

Sporting pitch-perfect 1940s BBC-style accents, Cassia Price and Fay Cartwright shine as old and young Hollingworth respectively. Price is wholly convincing as an 105-year old, whilst Cartwright captures the empathy of the audience with emotional range and flawless timing. Raphael Schmetterling, the only man to work on the production, juggles multiple parts, occasionally stumbling; but Schmetterling truly came into his own in the play’s tempestuous climax.

Sophie Dickinson’s costumes and Lily Stone’s set design are simple yet effective, successfully evoking 1940’s chic with a smattering of matte-red lips, clunky trunks and typewriters. The plot itself is initially slow to pick up (perhaps corners could have been cut in setting the scene) but the audience is taken on an unstoppable psychological roller-coaster past the 45 minute mark, with the direction improving as the play goes on.

Prepare, as you sit to watch the well-executed Right Place Wrong Time, not to leave the playroom necessarily feeling uplifted or contented, but rather enraged. It would have been nice to experience the production in a vacuum, feeling as if you were watching fiction and walking away unscathed. But not only is it a true story, but a story that repeats itself under different guises every day. This piece feels timely as we watch events unfold in the U.S. and remember that we still live in a political climate in which a woman can run for office, but will have to work ten times as hard to be taken half as seriously. It reminds us that sometimes, as women, as much as we want to speak up, we will fear that no one will believe us. It reminds us that our dreams and accomplishments, in all of their validity and legitimacy, are ever-fragile in the presence of an observer. This play will make you angry. But it will undoubtedly make you want to take that anger and do something with it.