What: An intense, dark comedy-drama about homophobic abuse, grief, and forgiveness
Where: Trafalgar Studio Two, 14 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DY
When: Thursday, 24th August 2017 until Saturday, 16th September 2017 at 7pm, matinee’s at 3pm
Two families meet over a dinner table. One chair is empty. They have come together in an attempt to constructively discuss the suicide of Joel, who was bullied by the other family’s son Curtis.
Excellent performances are in evidence all round, and the cast demonstrates consistency, fluency and rapport. Lucy Robinson gives a virtuoso performance as Debs, an artist and former activist who has in later life found herself first a politician’s wife and then a grieving mother. Tannahill’s script gives ample opportunity to use her colossal range as her deep sadness bubbles beneath the surface, escapes through pithy lines and minor slights, and occasionally through cries of anguish.
The script is blisteringly good: realistic, with sudden flourishes of simple eloquence that give emphasis and lucidity to messy truths. It’s also extraordinarily funny- through both well-observed gaffs and deliberate repartee on the part of the characters. This adds light to complement the fundamentally dark subject and gives the dramatic elements more impact. Whilst it’s clear the evening was only ever going to go one way, characters are emotionally aware and complex- the play is a source of constant surprise. The characters are very real, not stereotypes or symbols. It is immediately clear that Jordan Tannahill is writing from personal experience, and the play has support from Men’s anti-suicide charity, ‘The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)’.
Before we saw it in the West End, we saw it at The Finnsborough Theatre -read a second opinion here http://bit.ly/2vwI0pk
Reviewer: Roman Ackley