Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

In Doggerland

Box of Tricks , Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold , December-07-13
In Doggerland  by Box of Tricks In Doggerland by Tom Morton-Smith.
Box of Tricks seen at Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold

Two couples, a father and a daughter and a brother and a sister, encounter each other in a small town. One meeting is planned, the other random. But what connects them?

The answer in Tom Morton-Smith's fascinating play, is something physical that leads to areas of emotion, of relationships, of coping, of growing and of accepting. That physical item is a heart but I don't want to go into too much detail in the hopes that the play, whose tour has now ended, will have a future life. One of its great pleasures is the slow unfolding of the back story detail by detail.

What gives the production its power is the quality of the four performances. Clive Moore is the father sunk into loss and guilt who finds a way of re-connecting with life. Natalie Grady is his daughter, rejecting him and facing life by turning to alcohol but who finds a redemptive road thanks to a casual encounter. Jennifer Tan is radiant and quicksilver as Marnie, the girl who has never been well but who finds a new life thanks to a true meeting of the heart. Benjamin Blyth is her brother who has given all his commitment to her but is now ready to go his own hedonistic way.

As a production it was sometimes awkward with short scenes constantly having to regain momentum. The many scene changes were executed well by the cast but the minimum set lacked atmosphere, apart from the wash basin which had a truly scene-stealing moment.

But in the end it was the writing of the characters and the way the cast brought them fully to life that made this an absorbing and moving piece of theatre.

Reviewed by: Victor Hallett

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