Category Archives: Theatre

Clara: One-woman show

Clara_ElenaMazzonWhen hearing the name Schumann, many will first think of Robert. But what about the other Schumann whose music can transport us just as much? In Clara, we get to know the woman who tried to pursue her prolific music career after marrying Robert Schumann and despite getting increasingly lost behind her husband’s shadow – and name.

Elena Mazzon presents her one-woman show which has just premiered in London at From the Forest Festival. In the play, she plays Clara Schumann (1819-1896) who is preparing for a date with Johannes Brahms while sharing her memories about what led her to this date in the first place.

She married Robert right before her 21st birthday against her father’s will, who would have preferred her to become an independent musician. This relationship between father and daughter is described movingly by Mazzon, certainly touching soft spots of many in the audience. In addition, one can’t help but note the importance of putting a woman in the spotlight who had to fight to be respected by the many men in her field, starting with her husband who gave her ultimatums and worried about being overshadowed by his wife’s talent.

Directed by Catriona Kerridge, Mazzon supports her speech with piano music, composed either by Clara herself, Robert or Brahms. It is amusing to notice how when she leans on her piano, Clara feels secure. However, as soon as she walks away from her piano, she starts panicking, losing some her control. Music was everything for Clara, and always in first place, even in front of her many children.

This is a show that I hope will tour the world, giving a new voice to this maestro who herself visited and graced many cities with her music in the Romantic era. I also hope that with time it will contain even more played piano, as it adds such a beautiful element to the play. Stay tuned by following https://www.elenamazzon.com/clara-a-show-for-an-actress-and-a-piano/

 

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Love in Idleness – Apollo Theatre

Would you like some sherry? It’s pre-war.

Love_in_idlenessI was delighted to receive tickets from boxoffice.co.uk this week for Terrence Rattigan’s high-spirited 1944 comedy play Love in Idleness. It is not so often that I attend a play in the West End, and this was a delightful evening full of laughs and wit, excellent acting but, I must admit, an eventual feeling of wondering what the play was actually trying to tell me.

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead – Old Vic Theatre

Guildenstern – “I don’t believe in England”

rosencrantz-and-guildenstern-are-deadThe reason Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead may be my favourite play is because of the deep existence-related questions it raises while making the audience laugh and renew their love for what theatre does best: turn reality on its head. In addition, its connection and reorganising of Shakespeare’s Hamlet gives me that little satisfied feeling of knowing something others may not.

The play has just opened at London’s Old Vic for its 50-year anniversary starring Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire as the two leads. In case you haven’t recognised the title’s names, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are the two courtiers in Hamlet who we don’t see for long but who take centre stage in this play as they wait for instructions without really knowing what is going on around the court and why there seems to be so much of a to-do around the Danish prince.

The two friends, or colleagues, spend their long and boring days playing games such as heads and tails or one that involves answering a question with another one. We notice that Rosencrantz (Radcliffe) is very forgetful, drawing a blank at what happened just a minute ago. Nevertheless, he is quite curious about what it must be like to be born, or what it may be like to wake up dead in a box.

Guildenstern (McGuire) may seem more sure of himself but he is just as bewildered about his situation. The pair is witty without knowing it, and well-educated, mentioning the Greek tragedies during the play, but seem to lose their brain power as soon as they are in front of the original Shakespearian characters who completely intimidate and astound them.

This is essentially a spin-off, as it were, of the great tragedy of Hamlet, and it’s delightful to meet the players who Hamlet hires to call out his uncle’s behaviour backstage and in their “off” state. The company of cross-dressing players eagerly waiting for an audience, any audience, is hilarious and endearing. Their movement is ethereal, which adds a new level of performance to this play, following the blurriness of the Shakespearean characters and the realism of our heroes. The company is led by its director played by David Haig, a ball of passion.

The grand stage of the Old Vic may be bare but it is enlivened by a rich blue sky and white cloud horizon, as well as split by a curtain representing a map to show the journey the two characters go on toward their death. This gives space and emphasis on the actors and the text, which are enough to fill any space: McGuire is tragically funny in his lost state, while Radcliffe, in his philosophical tirades, reveals the child and need for protection in his character. We just want to hug them both and warn them – but what good would that do? They’d forget what we’d said in a minute, or they would not believe it. Indeed, the only truth they know is that of their superiors, and even they are not telling them much.

This topic of truth is definitely what stayed with me in Stoppard’s play: what we know is all assumed. We are sure about birth and death. What is in between is all interpreted through different voices and eyes – or shadows, as is alluded to at the very end of the play with shadows resembling Plato’s cave. We choose to believe, we assume things to be true, because doing anything else would never have an end. And we don’t have time, do we?

This feeling of endlessness is brought out in Stoppard’s text through many repetitions and inconsistent reactions to questions (“Is he there?” – “When?”) that highlight how fragile communication and meaning can actually be in our lives. Guildenstern thinks he knows what it is to die, or at least he thinks he knows what it’s not like to die, condemning the actors’ constant pretending. But later, when the theatre director pretends to die, Guildenstern believes it really happened!

I wish I could give you multiple brilliant examples from the text, but I don’t have it in front of me. What I love about it is that it faces us with the reminder that we don’t know much at all, and certainly not about ourselves.

This production is a joy to watch, especially for its text, fantastic ensemble and its deep feeling of humanity. All you can do is laugh at this play within the play within the play – it’s just a delight.

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Nuns – Etcetera Theatre (Camden Fringe)

It’s such a shame that the production of NUNS by Perform and Give, a theatre production company that donates all its ticket earnings to charity, was only on for four days this week during Camden Fringe. The hard work put in by the actresses, lighting and stage design and director should not go unnoticed.

Robert Luxford’s play introduces us to 3 nuns and their Mother Superior, all of whom should certainly not be judged by their habit. Indeed, we first meet Sister Catherine (Sarah Malcolm) and Sister Roza (Mia Hall) smoking behind the church and telling prim Sister Bernadette (Kesia Guillery) about their recent sexcapades with certain priests. While Mother Superior (Michèle Belgrand) seems to be trying to control the sisters to maintain tradition and order in the convent, we learn she also has quite some secrets to hide.

nuns

This is a really fun play. When you think about it, nuns are some of the most mysterious creatures. Is there ever rule bending? Do they even want to bend rules? With so much negative emphasis on male members of the Church in recent years, it’s great to watch a completely female story and hear these characters express their desires to become bishops and popes.

The production design was certainly memorable: set designer Reiko Tanaka put the small space to very good use, making certain props easily available on a table which was also serving as a private room for nuns to enjoy erotic literature. Sam Killingback’s lighting and Fintan Davies’s sound went hand in hand to create time jumps and a rock n’ roll feel. Finally, the costumes by Alexandra Kapsala and Felicity Wood gave each nun their own personal style and edge – either through their shoes when they were in their habit, or through their choice of underwear when they were undressed.

Finally, Edwina Strobl succeeded in giving history and detail to these nuns’ lives, as well as an intimacy between them. The four talented actresses completed each other very well, from Malcolm’s provocative and fun-loving character and Hall’s never ending curiosity as her sidekick to Guillery’s sweet innocence so easily picked on and Belgrand’s hilarious coolness – who knew such a strict nun would be the one recommending marijuana?

All I can say is this has certainly made me want to see more pub theatre! Congratulations to Perform and Give!

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People, Places and Things, Wyndham’s Theatre – Review

"'People, Places and Things' Play by Duncan Macmillan performed in the Dorfman Theatre at the Royal National Theatre"

Denise Gough in People, Places and Things

There is a wonderful podcast called Honest Actors that was recently put on hold. This was such sad news because listeners were able to regularly listen to an interview of a theatre actor who commented on what it is really like to be a working actor, the rejection involved, and the whole question of self-confidence, of knowing who you are in a context of judgement.

One of the recent interviewees was the Irish actress Denise Gough. I really enjoyed hearing that in periods of little acting work she would go back to her family and the importance of children in her life. She stressed how important valuing yourself outside of your acting ability and most importantly acting employment is.

On April 3rd, Gough won an Olivier Award for her role in the new play People, Places and Things written by Duncan Macmillan and directed by Jeremy Herrin (who also directed the memorable The Nether, No Quarter and Hero) and I was reminded that I just had to run out and go see it. Indeed, Gough and Herrin make a thrilling portrait of survival and belief in oneself when any minute, a human grenade could go off.

The play introduces us to an actress in her 30s, let’s call her Sarah, who is a drug addict and alcoholic and who checks herself into a rehab institution. While she knows she would be in trouble if she hadn’t done this, she has trouble admitting her addiction and where it comes from during her first weeks at the centre. It turns out she had a brother who died recently and parents who do not communicate or support her life choices. But can one really only blame those elements for her addictions? She certainly refuses to believe so.

And she’s right to! Why do we always look for a reason for someone’s depression, she asks, when it’s actually the world that is screwed up? Why always point a finger? This point actually reminds me of an explosive production by the Schaubühne of Enemy of the People, which brought up the same questions.

There is an interesting contradiction, however, in how on one hand Sarah doesn’t want to rationally explain her illness and on the other hand demands the certainty that she will leave the centre as quickly as possible, pass a “test” and be given a piece of paper to ensure she is not a risk to a future employer.

So far, she has constantly lived in the certainty that drugs will satisfy her without fail, while balancing the risk, uncertainty and irregular nature of her acting career. Following her stay in the centre, she knows nothing will ever be certain again, but that work and love will be all that matters.

This is a really exciting play by Macmillan, with philosophy introduced through Foucault or Baudrillard, group scenes with dialogue that made me gasp and want new plays about each of those centre patients and speeches that I know actors in the audience will love. One in particular regarding why Sarah is an actress and couldn’t live without acting is so familiar but I also know it can only be uttered by someone in either a state of excitement or real trust. Acting is vulnerable enough, but explaining to someone why one acts can be too.

A thin line is also brought up between trying to be good to others and having to be selfish to get there. The rehab centre encourages its patients to come to terms with themselves and apologise openly to the loved ones they have hurt. When this happens in reality in a final scene, Sarah’s father points out the selfishness in her apology. In these extreme situations, how can we stay emphatic if we don’t know what the other is going through, how hard they’ve worked?

While on the subject of this family relationship: upon finally discovering Sarah’s mother after she kept mentioning her throughout the play, I wondered whether Sarah would really call her a c*** and ask her on the phone to throw away her medication right before signing herself into rehab. But I suppose my argument forgets how high she was.

The set and lighting designs by Bunny Christie and James Farncombe highlight Sarah’s nightmare, fear of death and vicious circles. In two scary bad trip sequences with multiple silhouettes looking just like Sarah emerging from under the covers of her care bed and the walls, Sarah’s description of auditions and the countless girls sitting in the waiting who look just like her receives a new haunting dimension.

Gough is also a phenomenon in this production. The detail in her drunken movements and easy delivery of Macmillan’s words make her unforgettable. This is the kind of role you sensed her wanting to sink her teeth into during the Honest Podcast, and here, you feel her giving her heart and tears to her audience and the world.

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Review of Harlequinade / All On Her Own for Box Office

Last week, I was invited by Boxoffice.co.uk to review Harlequinade / All On Her Own. Here is the first paragraph, and you can find the full article on their website!

Ever since Kenneth Branagh announced that he was going to take over the Garrick theatre for a new season of plays in repertory, the West End has been buzzing with excitement – or at least I’ve been! What a refreshing format repertory is! I must say I don’t see that very often in the West End, with actors performing in a different piece every night. The Plays at the Garrick include a palette of plays from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Romeo and Juliet to French farce The Painkiller.

Read the full article here: http://www.boxoffice.co.uk/news/actress-sophie-tergeist-reviews-harlequinade-all-on-her-own-for-box-office-1172.aspx

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Gypsy (West End) – Review

Imelda Staunton in Gypsy.

If you’ve been anywhere near a London Underground escalator lately, you can’t have missed the posters exclaiming how exceptional Imelda Staunton’s performance in Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre is. Bugged by being reminded of this all the time, I decided to see the show for myself, and so I booked a seat in the last row, right next to the sound booth.

Last rows don’t bother me. Besides, the Savoy Theatre is smaller than other West End venues. I remember tearing up from the very last row during Miss Saigon, and this time, during Gypsy, it happened again.

This new production of Gypsy, directed by Jonathan Kent and choreographed by Stephen Mear, is quite a treat! It is very colourful, funny, and quite emotional. It tells a story inspired by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. Momma Rose (Imelda Staunton) is determined to turn her kids, and a few other children she discovers, into show stars. From very young ages, she trains them in dance and song and tours with them around the USA in the 1920s. As the kids grow up, the choreographies stay the same, which starts frustrating the members of the company. The “kids” are grown and ready to lead their own lives.

When Momma Rose’s kids company slowly disintegrates, her daughter Lee reluctantly still stays with her, but for how much longer can she stand living with her controlling mother? As the years and shows progress, we learn where Rose’s obsession with show business really comes from.

There is so much talent in this production, from the set design and its complementing costumes to the lighting, especially as the children’s choreography leads into adulthood.

What particularly stood out for me was some of the choreography, for instance between Tulsa (Dan Burton) and Louise (Gemma Sutton), as Tulsa is trying to explain that he wants to be a dancer, but independently from Momma Rose. As Burton sings and dances, it is as if he is floating on air. Stephen Mear’s choreography shows Tulsa’s longing for something sweet beyond the life he is living. He is a true artist and expresses great passion through his movements, without wanting to make a sound in case he is overheard. This passage is exquisite.

Lauren Hall as June is also a joy to watch as Gypsy Rose Lee’s sister with the bigger dancing talent between the two. She also has so much to express through her body, and we sense her frustration at her life being overly “choreographed” by her mother.

Finally, Staunton is the true sensation of this show, with her petite figure giving it all in this role. She plays a fidgety and perhaps hyperactive woman who can never be satisfied or truly settle down with any man: none of her former husbands ever understood her obsession with show business and divorced her. While she is hurt by this abandonment, as she calls it, her true pain comes from her wanting to be in the spotlight herself but feeling she missed the opportunity. She is probably the original stage parent!

As the children’s company she’s built and nurtured (but without pay) progressively leaves her, she notices how much she’s lied to herself. A heartbreaking sequence in the final act shows her utterly speechless when trying to express through song what she truly wants from her life.

This is a beautiful show with lessons on all fronts about the passions we should pursue in life and how happiness is found within, not through others.

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Hamlet directed by Lyndsey Turner – Barbican

… the play’s the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet.

A year after buying my tickets, I saw London’s latest Hamlet this week, directed by Lyndsey Turner and starring superstar Benedict Cumberbatch as the Danish prince.

Oh Lyndsey, why did you take one of my favourite Shakespeare quotes out of the text?

 

‘Tis bitter cold and I am sick at heart!

 

It should be right there at the opening of the play between two guards, but as the solid black curtain rose on the Barbican’s grand stage, I noticed your star Cumberbatch sitting there. Okay, I thought, things have been moved around a bit. But then, I never heard the quote.

The story tells of Hamlet who has recently lost his father. The new king is now his uncle, who has married his mother. One night, his father’s ghost tells him that he was poisoned by his brother and Hamlet decides to avenge him. However, he must tread carefully. While he’s the only one to have seen the ghost, is he going mad? Or is he just pretending to be mad to seem harmless to the members of the court? This play presents so many philosophical questions, from what the point of life is to why women wear make up (God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another).

The stage at the Barbican really is quite big, and in previous visits, I noticed how one could sometimes disconnect with a play’s action. However, this week, I sat in the 2nd row, lucky me! I was quickly drawn in and noticed how well the stage was set and decorated by Es Devlin.

The first half presents us with the interior of an old mansion house over two floors, with beautiful blue walls, portrait paintings and grand doors. While the walls could have alluded to warmth, there was a cold feeling throughout the location, which was highlighted by Jane Cox’s atmospheric lighting, with light sun rays coming through certain upstairs rooms. The second half, which follows the stage and audience being submerged with dirty snow-like black confetti, is dark and rough: we are now outside. The soil is wet and rotten, and seems to be just waiting for new corpses.

The costume design by Katrina Lindsay was less clear to me, but I explain the contrasts between modern and more classic dress with the one between old and new, death and life.

Horatio (Leo Bill) wears modern geeky dress and backpack and Gertrude (Anastasia Hille) wears her hair as a sophisticated lady of today would, but Claudius (Ciarán Hinds) has a more 1930s look while the players who will stage a play for the court appear in 60s hippy dress.

Hamlet finds himself somewhere in between. As he starts showing himself to the world as having lost his mind, he dresses up as a nutcracker and walks and jumps around tables. Later, he sports a rock and roll T-Shirt. I would say that this apparent inconsistency is the first of the more experimental elements of this production.

Perhaps because I sat so close to the stage and was so drawn in by Cumberbatch’s compelling performance and that of his co-actors, I forgot the theatricality of the piece. It felt very real to me. This is why Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s choreography, through running and dance sequences, took me out of the production’s naturalism, even though they worked well and illustrated the insanity and transition of certain characters.

The actors carried the play beautifully, smoothly creating a rhythm which never slowed down. Siân Brooke as Ophelia developed a tension in her body as the play progressed, and inspired sadness as she became weaker and weaker in her overwhelming surroundings. Ciarán Hinds was impressive and scary as the insensitive uncle Claudius.

There was nothing Sherlockian about Cumberbatch’s Hamlet, and thankfully so.

Having only seen him on screen, I was so pleased to finally see him on stage and observe his full appearance. He is indeed a theatre actor who has been propelled into the film stratosphere. But one must note that the freedom of movement on stage and in front of a camera is very different. On screen, actors may seem taller or shorter, more or less muscular, and the audience focuses mostly on their facial expressions.

Watching him jump and run around the stage and question the universe/audience about his choices, whether with frustrated tears or furious jumpiness was simply pleasant and refreshing. He and Turner also succeeded in introducing a unique naturalism and humour into the character, who is equally isolated and attached to his best friends. He is very aware of his surroundings and I would say that him seeing his father’s ghost is not a sign of madness in this play.

Turner’s production of Hamlet was quite invigorating thanks to some of its tremendous actors and its very large but worrying and oppressive stage set.

The rest is silence.

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Scarlet by Sam H. Freeman – Southwark Playhouse

Scarlet at the Southwark Playhouse

Scarlet at the Southwark Playhouse

Why on earth was the house only half full last night at the Southwark Playhouse during the performance of Scarlet, a new play by Sam H. Freeman? Its theme, all around virtual bullying and the dimensions of womanhood, is so topical and leaves the audience with so many personal questions that I highly recommend this production.

Freeman makes a wonderful choice in letting the student Scarlet, his main character, be played by four actresses. In this way, Lucy Kilpatrick, Jade Ogugua, Heida Reid and Asha Reid reveal varying parts of the character’s personality, thoughts and fears. I’d definitely love to see this done again, perhaps with even more actors, and with a male character at the centre.

In the first act, Scarlet has had a few too many drinks on a night out, and is filmed falling over without panties on and discussing large penises with a couple of drunk men/boys. The next morning, the video is on Facebook and over the next days, the whole world seems to have seen and commented on it. It’s a scandal, her university environment becomes unbearable and she loses her boyfriend. After a few months, things seem to die down. But do they really? If a woman has been robbed of an image of her body and even of her speech, and that this could be used anytime on the infinite internet, is she ever safe?

In the explosive and superior act two, Scarlet has changed her name to Eleanor. She is now an “anonymous” Londoner with many friends, a fabulous boyfriend (Olly), everything seems to go her way, and her clothes are fashionable. However, she still doesn’t quite sleep normally, needs isolated time in her bed quite regularly, and is starting to receive mysterious texts again.

This production is finely directed. Joe Hufton leads his actresses around the space as if through different parts of Scarlet’s brain. Some parts light up and are active, and others aren’t. And vice versa. In Act One, the central bed begins naturally messy and hosts our four girls in underwear. Underwear is what all women have in common. It’s what is layered on top of it that is so varied. This brings forward the theme of the uniforms and masks that we all wear every day – these days they seem even more important to some, as everyone is always in possession of a camera.

This is particularly obvious in Act 2, when three actresses are wearing pastel colours and one is still wearing her party wear from Act 1. The latter is the reminder that the past cannot be escaped, while the play explains that confronting one’s past can take a lot of time. In this story, events happen over two years. Other stories take much longer.

Perhaps the reason I connected less with Act 1 was because I left university a few years ago, and that when I went to clubs back then, being caught on a camera was not really a fear. If I remember correctly, there was much more text on Facebook back then than there is now, with images taking over everything.

I was pleasantly surprised when I recognised the names of the music producers for this play, Benji Huntrods and Ed Burgon, who were in my theatre society when I studied in Newcastle. Their nightclub music, which reflected Scarlet’s sometimes confused states, were perfect and were well completed by Matt Leventhall’s lighting.

The cast was very strong, with the actresses switching between accents, characters and genders, especially Lucy Kilpatrick who beautifully brought out the comedy in dramatic moments and scared everyone in the room when playing Scarlet’s bully. This bully strangely reminded me of some of True Detective. I did feel irritated by some of the high pitched yelling, but wouldn’t we all yell this way in these kinds of fearful moments?

Finally, speaking of fear, I so enjoy plays that confront us with our own by bringing up topics that we hear about on the news or in politics. Last time I went to the Southwark Playhouse, it was to see How I learned to drive, about an uncle abusing his niece from a very young age. This was then echoed by The Nether, which took the theme of online paedophilia to a new and highly uncomfortable level. Tonight, I will see The Vote at the Donmar Warehouse about this year’s general elections in the UK. As the theme of online bullying and women’s ownership of their bodies is so present, I urge everyone to go to see Scarlet.

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A View from the Bridge on NT Live – Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre

Elliott, Strong and Walker in A View from the Bridge

Elliott, Strong and Walker in A View from the Bridge

The guy ain’t right

The revival of Arthur Miller’s 1955 play A View from the Bridge has received 7 Olivier award nominations this year (results: 12 April). And all I can say is that this is exactly my kind of theatre production, with a focus on the power of imagination thanks to its bare set and the actors’ movements.

After A Streetcar Named Desire (also a Young Vic production), this is my second NT Live experience, and it is still a lucky one, transcendental but so relaxed at the same time.

A View from the Bridge tells the story of a Brooklyn family (Eddie, Beatrice and their late teenage niece Catherine) who hosts two Italian brothers Marco and Rodolpho (Emun Elliott and Luke Norris) fresh off the boat, although the two have no right to remain in the USA. Eddie (Mark Strong) helps the two find jobs working on the peer and earning money that they can send back to their poor families back in Italy. Pretty quickly, Catherine (Phoebe Fox) falls for Rodolpho (Norris), and they soon decide to get married. Eddie becomes highly possessive of his niece, and will try everything to stop this wedding from happening… with dangerous consequences.

Belgian director Ivo van Hove, artistic director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam, and also director of Antigone with Juliette Binoche, has created a bold and hauting show which so differs from naturalistic London shows. No wonder this show was first put on at the Young Vic.

The set is simple: a white carpet on which the actors walk barefoot, surrounded by low glass windows; a black wall and a dark thin door frame which we can only imagine leads to the open, away from Eddie’s claustrophobic home.
Thanks to this simplicity, our focus shifts to the story, the text. Who needs chairs and grass to represent a garden? Who needs an image of New York City or the port to set the scene? Miller’s text is more than enough to bring us into a world of obsessive love and desperation.

I enjoy these kinds of sets that give the audience’s imagination more power. Bart van den Eynde contributes to this thanks to his dramaturgy and movement choices, with Catherine sleeping in a ball on the edge of the stage, or the poignant final scene with all actors creating an interlaced group to portray the violence between the characters. The text’s speed is also played with: in one of the best scenes, the main characters have a long conversation out on the porch which goes from awkward to angry. The long silences between the lines were exquisite in highlighting that what is left inside will sooner or later explode.

This also give an occasion for Van Hove to accentuate the big themes he sees in the play. To me, one theme is religion. Although God is rarely mentioned, the theme of the shower in the opening and closing scenes struck me. While in the opening, Eddie is cleaning himself after a day of work, the final bloody rainfall relieves him from his obsessed life while also covering all the other characters with some kind of sin. It’s a fascinating staging choice, and quite shocking after such a plain choice of colour on the set.

Speaking of which, all characters wear dark or grey colours, apart from Catherine, who first wears a jumper with flowers but later wears grey and black.

Immigration is also a theme, with the Italians speaking in the same accent as the locals. What if we took away accents as one of our distinctive traits? Wouldn’t everything be easier?

This is a very strong ensemble cast. Phoebe Fox perfectly shows the feelings of a young woman who does not want to marry without her uncle approving. Luke Norris and Emun Elliott are clearly physical actors who show their passion for a new land of opportunity. Mark Strong, at the centre of the show, effortlessly portrays a heartbroken man who can’t quite combine his openness to the new with his closed feeling of family. “His eyes were like tunnels” – they certainly were.

This is really a unique show which escapes the naturalistic set for a more raw and almost animal tone.

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