The acting is outstanding. The silent waiter, Lucinka Eisler, with her phobias and her need for ritual, the hysterical woman, Giulia Innocenti, and the neurotic man, Ben Lewis, whose studies into mental problems are bringing him near to the edge of madness himself. The waiter starts the play by counting her teeth, her toes, her knees. She lays the table according to a pattern and an order and, if anything is missing from this order, catastrophe on a global scale threatens. Every movement, down to the twitch of her eyebrows, is significant. It is funny, but it hurts too.
The man is nervous about his date, dithering over unimportant decisions, unsure of how to talk to this woman. Every now and then he leaps to the front of the stage to be a timid lecturer, far too self-aware (beware those in the front seats!). The woman seems confident and self-assured, but titbits from her conversation reveal a deep anxiety and insecurity. Their timing is superb and the conversation is often witty (the confusion over Turkey and turkeys) and we can laugh with them. Sometimes, however, what is happening is painful and you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The play is too consequential to be taken as purely absurd but lacks enough of a plot to be a straightforward play and this was my dilemma. How much do I laugh; how much do I search for hidden meaning; how much should I empathise with the characters? I wasn’t sure.
It is, however, a tour de force in many ways and all those involved in the sound and lighting deserve praise for their witty and well-tuned contribution.
Try reading the T.S. Eliot poem of the same name that inspired the play. Not sure if it helps! but it is interesting.