Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews


The Other Room - The Story

The Other Room Cardiff , The Other Room , October 8, 2019
The Other Room - The  Story by The Other Room Cardiff No one was better equipped to tell this story than Tess Berry-Hart. She had “spent time volunteering in the Calais Jungle as well as refugee camps in Lesvos and Athens and has witnessed with dismay the backlash against the refugee crisis evidencing itself as growing nationalism, hard borders and rising right-wing sentiment across Europe. As well as seeing my own friends and colleagues in the volunteer effort criminalised and charged for pulling drowning people out of the sea or handing out food…….”

A story on these lines is told to us in gentle poetic language by Luciana Trapman, projected large at either end of the stage. A table and two chairs are placed at one end of the stage below the projection.

X, a dynamic and sensitive young person is given a beautiful and compelling performance by Siwan Morris. Playing her hard-headed protagonist, V, one of our very fine actors, Hannah McPake. She is frightening and totally captivating. Director, David Marcatali paces the drama exactly right. Delyth Evans’ basic set and Katy Morison’s lighting set the action off perfectly.

X has just returned from giving her backing to a group who are continually being attacked by a force trying to take over their land.

It seems that the protocol is for her to make an application to be allowed to return to her own country. She expects this to be a simple process and is sitting down with V, her uniformed examiner to complete the appropriate application forms.

For X things don’t turn out as she expects. V insists that she doesn’t fit the categories. X calls for a lawyer. I’ll get you one says V and off she goes to find one. A lawyer quickly appears but it’s V just with a different coat on. Lawyer tells X that she is unwell. X, “I need a doctor.” V returns in a white coat and a stethoscope around her neck.

X becomes more agitated as each time she asks for assistance. V is all she is offered. The sharp, well delivered banter is the heart of the play.

We become totally captivated by it and by the two excellent performers. They give us the perfect Pinteresque drama. We are captivated by them and their story, ready to believe but the strong feeling of theatricality is always there.

Poor X is made to suffer enormously; she is stripped and roughly tied to a chair but all ends well !

The lights go out as X puts V under the spotlight.

The play, part of the ‘Violence’ Series, runs until the 27th Oct

A very engaging production, well worth seeing.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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