‘Going the Distance’, the digital comedy by Henry Filloux-Bennett and Yasmeen Khan, does what it promises – it brings theatre into your bedroom and makes you laugh out loud.
Set in March 2020, when theatres across the country (and the globe) went dark, Going the Distance talks about the struggles of keeping small community theatres open – an issue faced by many long before the pandemic started.
Consequently, in order to save their local venue, the Matchborough Theatre community – with Sara Crowe, Nicole Evans, Shobna Gulati and many more acclaimed actors starring – use all their forces to put on a fundraising production of the Wizard, a show inspired by (but not exactly like) the Wizard of Oz.
Asking critical questions about what changes are needed for theatres to be more inclusive and to survive, Going The Distance has a critical eye on theatre itself and practices self-reflection while addressing topics that are more relevant than ever before.
By claiming that “theatre is for everyone”, it portrays the art as an inclusive, accessible way of bringing people together, no matter their background, and stresses the importance of the connections made via storytelling.
Finally, like a love letter to itself, the digital comedy argues that theatre is home and does not shy away from giving important life lessons, bringing up real emotions, and stressing the sense of belonging one feels being part of the theatre community.
With an extension announced, this extraordinary production, which mixes theatre with film and even captures some of the scenes on Zoom as a reminder of the good old lockdown spirit, will be available to watch until October 31st.
Although watching it alone in my room with lots of things to potentially distract me from the show, I felt immersed in the story, moved by the actors’ performances and motivated to become part of the fictional Matchborough Theatre community trying to save their local venue.
All in all, I absolutely loved Going the Distance because it touched my heart and made me laugh out loud multiple times. I had the feeling of being in an actual theatre hall with the only difference being my outfit (God, I wish we could wear PJs in public) and crowds of people joining me in my laughter.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at goingthedistanceplay.com. Bookers will receive a screening link that will allow access to their booked performance date for a 48-hour period. Tickets are priced at £15 which will include both a link to the production as well as a digital programme. Audio description and closed captioning will be made available for the production during its run.
Reviewed by Giulia Ciccolella – Giulia is interning with Abundant Art during October and supports the organisation writing reviews and helping with marketing and PR. Giulia is German-Italian and graduated with a BA in Media & Communications with first-class honours from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has been living in the UK for over three years and is excited to explore London’s art scene further while learning more about the work of Abundant Art.