Monday, 17 April 2017

REVIEW: Threads at Hope theatre

The Islington and Highbury is an exciting vibrant theatre scene with The Pleasance Theatre to the west, The Park Theatre to the north, The Almeida to the south and The Hope Theatre above the Hope and Anchor pub just a short walk from the underground. These hidden gems deserve publicity for their efforts and creativity.

Up at The Park Theatre, RADA graduates, Hot Coals Theatre are staging the (d)Deaf accessible Finders Keepers and at The Hope Theatre it is the turn of Mountview Academy graduates to challenge and enthral the 50 seat audience with a new play by David Lane, Threads.

Charlie, played by Samuel Lawrence has lived alone for 5 years in his flat apparently without food, drink or sleep and without a pulse. He is metaphorically dead and his flat has become a prison from which he can only gaze at outside world through a small window. He has finally tracked down Vic, played by Katherine Davenport, who walked out on him 5 years ago and invited her to see him in the flat. She has moved on in her life and changed everything to break the link with him.

They make a powerful pairing as they gradually peel back their lives and start to rediscover their connection. Although they have lived apart the threads that connected them are still there deep down and painfully and emotionally they rediscover their former selves. David Lane has written a fascinating and challenging piece, with some shocks and twists that are provocative and imaginative and the two cast members portray the tension, angst and love dramatically and effectively under the direction of Pamela Schermann.

The problem for me is the limitations of the venue itself: It is an intimate compact space. Played in the round, the audience becoming watching eyes in the walls of the sitting room that entraps them but with some scenes in the hall and kitchen tucked away in the corners and out of sight for some of the audience and with one actor’s back towards the audience at various moments it detracts from the performances. Added to this I could never quite tell whether the low humdrum sound was from the bar below and the street noise and sirens
from the road outside or whether this was a carefully designed soundtrack to the play. The lighting was simple with an effective use of white LED lights to show the strengthening reawakened threads between the couple.

It is an intense, dramatic play, performed well and creates an intense dramatic seventy minutes of drama which sends you away thinking about the threads of your own life but I would have preferred to have seen it on a thrust stage or traditional stage where the distractions would have been minimised.

Review by Nick Wayne 

Rating: ★★★
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