Friday, 4 August 2017

REVIEW: Flood at Tristan Bates Theatre

Tom Hartwell is a very talented playwright and he's surrounded by equally talented cast and creatives. Fact. His latest play Flood is a well-seasoned mix of drama and comedy that shows the long-term life perspective of an alcohol-addict, using wit and irony. 

In a house basement, Adam (Jon Tozzi) is going through the last few boxes of his late mother's belongings. Her funeral is in a few hours and, with the help of his sister Jess (Emily Celine Thomson), he's clearing the room that, in Oscar Selfridge's simple but imaginative design, appears messy and severely flooded. Some photo albums, old school reports and a bottle of whisky that his mother used to drink in secret take Adam down memory lane and reveal the serious drinking problem that he inherited from the woman. Meanwhile the funeral is cancelled because of the severe rainfall that hit the small Somerset Village and both siblings get to spend some time with a few old friends. Amongst them are Jess' long-term boyfriend Michael (Nathan Coenen), Adam's ex-girlfriend Laura (Molly McGeachin) and Ben (Tom Hartwell), who appears completely transformed after having moved to London.

Flood is a tragicomedy about the power of change, the dreams for a better future of those who leave the village to settle in the big city and the mixed feelings of those who decide to stay. It also brings to light the issue of alcohol addiction and the negative impact that this can have in the fulfilment of an individual. Touching themes that concern so many of us, this play strikes some serious chords with a bubbly abundance of laugh-out-loud moments. 'Put it like this' says Adam to Michael, 'if you cut my head off there is a corkage fee.' The metaphorical flooding of the village is there to remind all of us that time is limited and staying afloat is not an easy job. 

Georgie Staight's well-rehearsed direction allows the transitions between scenes
to flow smoothly and even the set changes become a meaningful part of the performance. 

This Paper Creatures Theatre production is an effortless and refreshing piece that hits strong notes with humour, intelligent writing and a gracious delivery. Considering its quality, my only regret is that Hartwell hasn't further developed the characters into a full-length play, for which I hold out hope for the future.

Review by Marianna Meloni

Rating: ★★★★
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