Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Back Room Theatre Company at the Keene Hall


First outing for this fledgling group, with a capable cast taking us back to the 80s for Tony Marchant's wry look at life.

In the less than ideal surroundings of the Keene Hall, the small stage was set with NHS beds and screens. Two women meet, exchange confidences, find mutual comfort, and prepare to confront their fate.

Marchant stretches credibility by putting an infertile 30-something next to a teenager seeking a termination. But once established, the potential for dramatic tension is well exploited, with sudden changes of mood, laughter and despair.

Caroline Wright was quietly convincing as the confused youngster who wanted to be as pure as Isla St Clair; a touching, beautifully realised performance. In the adjoining bed, loud, warm, generous Chris, who has a blockage in her tubes and a robustly cynical view of life. She was played with a good sense of light and shade by Lorraine Ely.

The action was punctuated by the brusque unfeeling student nurse, Shana Armstrong.

This short play never really gets anywhere, but we come to know, and feel for, these two women whom fate has thrown together, and the final scene, confessions in the wee small hours, was tender and moving.

The director was Matthew Jones, assisted by David Pridmore.

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