Kay and Rex is a short but sweet play about a married couple: an actress, Kay who is played by Francesca Davies-Caceres, and an actor, Rex who is played by Tom Jacobs. The couple have just returned from a party and discuss the evening’s events, future plans and current situation. There’s not much more of the plot that I can reveal as the play’s sense of mystery is a huge part of its impact. However, if you can find the time and energy to trek all the way to Hild Bede anytime soon then this play is absolutely worth the visit.
What immediately struck me was the venue. Caedmon Hall is typically not a small venue. However, for DDF it’s been shrunk down into an intimate, cosy, little spot, with black curtains walling the audience in. And this tighter setting is perfect for Kay and Rex. It places the audience right there in the sitting room with them, able to hang on to each remark that the couple exchanges. On the surface the two are clearly lovely and charming but it doesn’t take long for a nagging doubt to settle in your stomach.
Whilst the story is great in its own right, Francesca and Tom bring it to life in a way that is a thrill to watch. The chemistry between them is delightful at just the points it needs to be and it really helps the story to absorb its audience as questions are raised and answers teased. Francesca is bright and full of energy, the life and soul of any party, we can only assume. Her performance makes her character friendly and likeable and we begin to sympathise with her very easily. Parallel to this, Tom plays a very interesting character. Rex’s character is very charming and he is a true gent, although occasional lines of dialogue hints that there is more than meets the eye. Again, Tom has a great performance here, and although his lines were possibly a little rushed to start it really didn’t hurt the performance.
Ultimately, Kay and Rex is a little gem of a play and, although I spent longer walking to and from the venue then I did watching it, I’m very glad I was able to see it. Madeleine Horton’s play is clever and well-paced and the cast have turned it into a great performance.
Madeleine Horton’s ‘Kay and Rex’, performing for Durham Drama Festival, is on Thursday 7th, Friday 8th, and Saturday 9th February from 9:30pm in Caedmon Hall, Hild Bede.