Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

An intense quiet reality

At Sgript Cymru

Sgript Cymru- Past Away , Chapter Arts Centre , February 26, 2002
Struggling chemistry and gritty poetry in words and movement pervade this brooding partnership between emerging and exciting new writer, twenty-two year old Tracy Harris and director of the same surname Simon (No relation). Relationships, or the lack of the ability to make them, are at the core of this compelling work. The ninety-minute performance has the feel of a sonata, Harris's presence wielding a baton, guiding the actors through their rhythms and movements with a light unobtrusive touch.

The set, designed by Max Jones, is also a sophisticated and elegantly constructed piece of sculpture or angular landscape on which these sad and frustrated relationships are revealed. Tracey Harris has her own new and distinctive language that speaks equally well through each of her very different characters.

The play revolves around the death of Brian's father. The father's presence is there but he is a shadowy character invading the future of all the characters in the play. Brian's guilt and inadequacies produce bouts of mannish anger alternating with childish tears. Like the other actors played with an overriding understatement Shane Atwooll's so real portrayal in the intimate arena of the Chapter Studio gives us the feeling that we are there like nosy neighbours spying on his troubles.

His brother Jo, again played with an intense quiet reality by Chris Lennard, struggles with many dilemmas of identity that most of us will recognise. The point near the end of the play, with the director's baton quickening, when he discovers himself and grows taller before our eyes is one of those moments of excitement only found in live theatre.

Both brothers react in very different ways to lodger Eddie, who in fact turns out to be a brother, or is he? What is he? Does he know? Oliver Ryan’s edgy playing buffets between the other characters in a curiously supportive way, not that any one is giving much support in any direction.

Susan is Brian's wife in a very dry marriage. Nia Roberts again understates with a balletic eroticism of movement that both enchants and repulses. A captivating performance, a shaky hold on life.

Sgript Cymru runs many workshops developing new writers. This play demonstrates the value of this work. Sgript Cymru many not have their own base theatre but they are most certainly the 'Royal Court' of Wales.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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