Playwright Amalia Kontesi wants a debate and she wants one badly. Someone of Significance frames a discussion about capitalism around a romance – an idea with potential. Unfortunately, there is too little behind the conceit.
Brad and Rosie are bankers, in America, who start an affair. Their careers and ambitions diverge but their affection, somehow, remains. The problem is that, despite fine performances from Simon Bass and Funlola Olufunwa, and convincing chemistry between them, neither the characters nor their arguments quite convince.
It’s hard to believe that the couple are high powered, or even that they work in the corporate world. What little detail Kontesi provides is predictable. Despite establishing how bright she is, Rosie seems surprised at what her job entails and how much money she earns. The different backgrounds that lead to their divergent opinions need elaborating.
As for the arguments, which should provide some weight to the play, they are too simplistic and unchallenging. The script needs more humour. Credit again to Bass and Olufunwa, who both make the dialogue sound natural. But two super-smart bankers going over basic economics is a struggle: both use terms like gentrification and trickle-down as if nobody had ever heard them before.
Matters don’t improve when Rosie’s ambition to be President becomes the focus. The ideas about politics are just as brief and share an easy, cynical shorthand. Maybe there are too many scenes in Someone of Significance? Could richer detail could come in fewer, longer scenes?There’s certainly too much time wasted with costume changes, and director Sam Tannenbaum could pick up the pace to add some tension.
The love story is better written. Interestingly, the play doesn’t get waylaid by the initial power imbalance between the couple. Rosie has autonomy and is a positive role model. And Kontesi does well to make Brad slightly more sympathetic, despite being to the political right of Rosie. The sweet conclusion is neat. The romance is a good container for the play. The trouble is that container is too empty.
Until 5 March 2023
Photo by Vasiliki Verousi