Theatre in Wales

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Theatre art of the highest quality

Tremor

Sherman Theatre Company , Sherman Theatre , May-02-18
Tremor by Sherman Theatre Company In an atmosphere completely devoid of all physical verisimilitude we are given a near perfect Brechtian experience with outstanding performances from these two, highly watchable actors, Lisa Diveney and Paul Rattray. Equipped with 2016 Pinter Commission award winning writer, Brad Birch’s poignant words they bring this ‘real life’ narrative thrillingly to life.

Set in the ‘black cloud” that is the Sherman Studio Theatre, a low circular stage in the centre of the auditorium with the audience set on all four sides. At times we see the actors stalking each other, other times they embrace. Ace McCarron’s lighting perfectly completing the atmosphere.

Tom’s former partner, Sophie turns up unexpectedly, four years after their breakup. At first he is very nonplussed by her arrival. Here Rattray gives us a very edgy awkward character, challenging and unsympathetic. With great subtlety he changes his mood many times as the story progresses.

Their relationship ended when they were both involved in a terrible bus crash, over thirty people died. Tom and Sophie only just survived. Though their relationship did not. Tom doesn’t want her here in his new life. He is well satisfied with the changes he has made, a wife, children and their own flat a job. He sees Sophie’s appearance as a threat to all this.

As we hear more of the story it becomes a fight between bigotry and racism on one hand and human sensitivity on the other but of course all this is questioned and we are made to wonder who stands where. At first Sophie appears to be the more grounded sympathetic character.

Tom played a big part in the conviction of the driver. A Muslim, found with alcohol in his body.
The man is now in hospital, dying of cancer. Sophie has visited him. She wants Tom to do the same.

He refuses to go. He’s put all that behind him and does not want to open old wounds. Through Birch’s detailed and well-observed dialogue, they explore a whole range of human emotions and attitudes. Sophie is forced to question if she has moved on from the experience, indeed we question, even with Tom’s racism reformed and Sophie’s forgiveness of the bus driver, whether the trauma may still remain in both of them.

These two actors are totally compelling to watch, they take us deep into the human psyche and wrap their desperate thoughts all around us.

Once again Cardiff has produced theatre art of the highest quality.




Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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