I guess yesterday’s outbreak of good news couldn’t last. I duly came crashing back to earth with the “cold douche of reality” (as Nick de Jongh’s theatre critic character calls it in his play Plague Over England) when I went to the Arts Theatre last night. Allegedly re-opened after what the programme calls “an extensive 4 month refurbishment”, which it also claims has been comprehensive, “incorporating auditorium seating and Front of House”, I discovered that, apart from a new minimalist bar on street level (with a new private members’ club, the London Cocktail Club, taking over the basement bar) and a new lick of red paint everywhere, it’s the same decrepit theatre inside, complete with the same old creaky seats.
But worse was the even creakier play, Toyer, that despite two strong actors and a sleek set of high production values, turns this so-called psychological thriller only into psychological torture for the audience forced to watch it. Mind you, there weren’t many of us in last night: I counted 32.