Love to hatred turned
Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s Fury (Milton Court Theatre) has been described as a modern-day version of the Medea story and when it premiered at the Soho Theatre in 2016 it certainly struck a chord. Audiences immediately understood the predicament of a young single mum, Sam, struggling to make ends meet. Her partner Rob walked out and left her with two sons. Neighbour Tom, a music fanatic who lives above her, is very loud and is also a guilt-tripping manipulator who promises not to report her to the authorities if they can come to ‘an arrangement’. The perfect recipe for abuse and family breakdown. Enter Woman, Man and Fury who act as narrators and commentators, a Greek chorus in everything but name. However, they ask us to do more than just bear witness and at times are quite judgmental. Familiar yet very contemporary and effective.
The students of Guildhall School of Music and Drama deftly directed by Nicole Charles impress with their well-crafted interpretations. Lydia Fleming (Sam) is all heart and determination as she flounders trying to give her children the best she can, badly scarred though she is from what life has thrown at her. Joseph Potter’s Tom is a clever nuanced portrayal, the liberal bohemian facade barely concealing his solipsistic and passive aggressive behaviour. Fury (Kristina Tonteri-Young), Woman (Isabella Brownson) and Man (Brandon Ashford) are a thrilling triumvirate and their interplay absorbing and very telling at key moments in the action. When they interject, they invade the space and our heads, each interpolation injecting yet more doubt into our already conflicted minds.
Charlie Cridlan’s design is simple and evocative, you can almost smell the fetid stench of mess and confusion while Eleanor Coxall creates a smart soundscape that puts the urbane into urban. Éclair-Powell’s writing is razor sharp and there is an ebb and flow to her perceptions that ask many questions, deliberately avoiding any conclusions. The expression “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” is actually incorrect and sexist too. The truth is love does sometimes turn to hatred and the fury expressed here is an indictment of the human condition and also an excellent play.
Meanwhile Rose Goodenough drops in on THE whodunnit…
I’ve never been one for keeping secrets. As I walked out of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre last week that presented a real dilemma. I had just seen a superb touring production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap which has been teasing audiences since 1952. The writer thought it would last eight months.
The venue is an odd guesthouse in the country run by Giles and Mollie, an apparently ‘normal’ married couple. Meanwhile in London a murder has occurred. We have clues as to the murderer’s attire. The guests arrive as does a policeman on skis. It’s a hoot were it not for the seriousness of the crime. Eventually the identity of the killer is revealed…but mum’s the word here. A uniformly excellent cast make this a hugely enjoyable production. Catch it when you can…and that’s not a clue.
Finally Sotira Kyriakides finds age catching with her…
Tom Wright’s My Dad’s Gap Year (Park Theatre) is a 90-minute mad rollercoaster of a comedy. Dave (Adam Lannon), a lovable but louche alcoholic in mid-life crisis, accompanies his gay, inhibited son William (Alex Britt) on a gap year holiday in Thailand. Far from being an ordinary holiday, Dave and William experience self-realisation amid a heady cocktail of drugs, booze, brotherly bonding, drugs and trans and gay sexual encounters with Mae (Victoria Gigante), a Thai trans waitress, and passionate romantic architect Mathias (Max Percy). Michelle Collins (yes, her from Eastenders and ‘Corrie’) who stars as mother Cath, is also on her own voyage of self-discovery.
Outrageous but ridiculous, enacted with puns and innuendos it ensures that not only do the laughs keep coming but there are also moments of poignant self-revelation, when Dave and William reveal home secrets in madcap card games. Dave reveals yet more secrets from his past about his own father and Cath relays her romantic encounters and experiences by phone to William. Subtle humour and dramatic irony are, however, captured both by the contrast between rogue Dave and uptight William’s behaviour throughout their adventures in Thailand and in how all family members are somehow transformed by their experiences. All in all, great fun.
Fury – www.barbican.org.uk
The Mousetrap – on tour – www.mousetrapontour.com/uk-tour
My Dad’s Gap Year – 020 7870 6876