Panning for Gold - Free

Laughing Horse @ The Phoenix

Theatre Reviewed by Honour Bayes

Getting dumped is always hard, but getting dumped on your wedding day is brutal. Jasmine Smart invites us to examine the effects that such a betrayal can have in Panning for Gold.

Jilted brides Ada, Robyn and Shari attempt to work out their issues through a series of drama-based therapy sessions led by Juno. As the weeks go by a much darker secret that binds them together is revealed.

Although it’s exciting to see a play with four female roles, Smart – who also plays single mum Ada – has written a pretty ineffectual piece full of neat stereotypes. The touchy feely nature of each session appears cliched and the benefit of each task to the girls - though loaded with clues for the audience about the concluding ‘twist’ - is opaque.

As tough cookie Robyn, Anna Gillingham-Sutton brings a nice dose of plain talking into this love-in and Penny Lamport is a motherly Juno, although her emotional attachment to the group makes her appear unprofessional.

Dramas based on therapy are always ripe for emotional manipulation. Sadly, with Panning for Gold Smart stays safely within a reductive sentimentality that does not allow for the real psychology of this issue to be discussed.

Published online
Review by
Honour Bayes
Produced by
Thrice Three Muses/Laughing Horse Free Festival
Writer
Jasmine Smart
Running time
55 minutes
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