Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Unmissable drama

At the Sherman

Sherman Cymru- the Almond and the Seahorse , Sherman Cymru , March 10, 2008
At the Sherman by Sherman Cymru- the Almond and the Seahorse After opening last week, Sherman Cymru's current production The Almond and the Seahorse has been wowing audiences and critics alike and has just recieved a 5 star review from The Guardian...

"Throughout Kaite O'Reilly's tremendous new play about the emotional aftermath of serious head injury, pockets of the gloomy set are lit in isolation. It becomes clear, as the drama reveals two couples living with this bewildering scenario, that it is intended as a reflection of how only parts of a brain might work after a devastating blow or illness, and how aspects of the person you were, or knew, can be snuffed out.

The dramatic potential of a character living with compromised, diminishing memory is obvious, but O'Reilly's focus is on the impact on their loved ones and the quiet, slow, private loss they endure. Gwennan, now in her 50s, remembers only her life before a car crash in her 20s, when she was newly married, pregnant and full of hope. Each morning, she screams when she sees her older self, and is repulsed by husband Tom, who sounds like the young man she remembers but looks all wrong. Joe has impaired short-term memory and his longer-term recollections, which give him at least some connection with his wife Sarah, are dwindling.

These extraordinary scenarios are tenderly drawn and powerfully realised in Phillip Zarrilli's beautifully judged production. Fiona Watt's set shows past, present and future colliding - as it does for the couples - and the performances are uniformly affecting. The couples' lives alter irrevocably as we watch, and this is not a play with any sunny, easy resolution.

"That is what makes our lives: memory," says Sarah. This unmissable drama - which promises much for the future of new writing company Sherman Cymru - confronts the uncomfortable reality of what happens to life, and even the most patient love, without it."

Elisabeth Mahoney, The Guardian, 8 March 2008

Reviewed by: Elisabeth Mahoney, The Guardian, 8 March 2008

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