I'd wanted to see "The Swearing Jar" ever since I first heard about it, so I was happy when a friend informed me that it was being put on at The Fringe. I have to admit that I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it as much as "Noble Parasites" and "Don't Wake Me" as Kate Hewlett wouldn't be performing. However, from what I've learned about Kate Hewlett through interviews and her blog, "The Swearing Jar" is very much her play. From the very beginning, I could hear her voice in the writing. The hilarious dialogue and endearing, likeable characters have Kate Hewlett written all over them.
Janet Porter made a wonderful entrance as Carey, knocking furiously at the stage door and then stumbling in late for Simon's birthday party. You can't help but be charmed by Carey as she immediately sticks her foot in it by swearing -- and then swears some more because she fails to cover it up. Porter seemed to shift from comedy to drama effortlessly and brought a great sense of depth to Carey's character. Andrew Pifko (Simon) also had a real flair for comedy, exchanging witty banter with Porter in a wonderfully dry manner. On the surface, he appears to be pretty laid back and mostly amused by his wife's antics, but we later learn that he's rather more complex than we first suspected.
As I really enjoyed Christopher Stanton's performance in "Don't Wake Me," I was glad to see his name in the programme for "The Swearing Jar". This time around, he plays the nervous and rather awkward Owen, who makes friends with Carey when she visits the bookstore he works in. As Carey points out, Owen tends to blurt out the first thing that pops into his head, which makes for some very funny conversation. However, like Porter, Stanton is able to tap into the more vulnerable side of Owen and bring extra dimension to his character. Lastly, Kyra Harper's portrayal of Bev was a real treat. She was able to play with the mother-in-law stereotype without making it seem clichéd. While she tries to appear tough and together on the outside, the audience is given glimpses of a woman who is a little lost and a lot lonely.
If you're a fan of Kate Hewlett, or just good theatre, then I definitely recommend "The Swearing Jar". It's playing at the Tarragon Theatre until Saturday. Check out Kate Hewlett's blog to see a schedule of the remaining performances.