13 Feb 2022
Larry Lamb, Laura Bayston
We’re often told to be wary of strangers who ask too many questions. But what do you do when that stranger looks familiar and arouses our curiosity to the extent we ask questions of them? Kerrie (Laura Bayston) runs a homely East End café that has seen better days. Football memorabilia adorns the walls; a number 6 replica shirt occupies pride of place, West Ham and England skipper Bobby Moore is similarly honoured in every pub, café and newsagent around these parts. Harry (Larry Lamb) enters and orders a cup of tea and Eccles Cake. Elderly, well dressed but ageing well he seems unusually talkative. In an otherwise empty café Kerrie is guarded but immediately intrigued by the stranger.
Open questions flow freely between the pair with crisp and measured dialogue opening up all kinds of possibilities. The audience are soon made aware of thoughts passing through her mind. Who is he, does he know me, do I know him, does he know my family and is he from around here? The reveal provides a satisfying conclusion. Over the course of 18 minutes we get to find out what the connection is between Kerrie, Harry and the café.
Although off screen other characters are mentioned it’s essentially a two hander that works brilliantly well. Larry Lamb reprises many previous roles especially Archie Mitchell from Eastenders. But he packs tremendous charisma into every word, breath and expression; a curious mix of danger and rough diamond charm. Laura Bayston flits around nervously trying to please her customer, carefully treading line between polite and nosy. Interplay between the characters is never rushed but gradually builds a picture that allows the audience to draw reasonable conclusions.
The film very quickly finds its level and relies on characters that are instantly familiar; we all know someone like them. Kerrie could be our wife, girlfriend, mother or sister. Harry feels more like a next door neighbour, the guy down the pub who we vaguely know; perhaps on no more than nodding terms but they have a comforting presence. An excellent effort and proof that even old windows can let a little light in.