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A CurtainUp London Review
Edward Hall's direction is sure footed as ever and there are some definite images you will remember. Under his bed, Adam's father Nick (Richard Clothier) has found a machine bouncing two tennis balls in unison but which gradually diverge and get out of sync. The projections of this sequence are beautifully shown in blue on the white wall. In between scenes, through the back screen comes the image of a hand, then the shadow of the figure of a young man, like sculptor Antony Gormley's Blind Light cloud box images, the impression of the missing boy. Then there were the swirling clouds and the bleak relentless rain creating wonderful atmosphere.
I loved Francis O'Connor's design the bright, white circular space with steps leading up to it and a wide door going off stage, a window and a ceiling on which to project in the outdoor scenes. Peter Mumford's lighting is exquisite sometimes bringing colour to this design, sometimes making it monochrome at night.
Julie Graham's Lia sounds very like Tara Fitzgerald and she also looks not unlike her, as the mother grapples with the pain of, not only the loss of the missing child, but not knowing what has happened to him. Lia is very much the victim of this play clutching at straws of hope. Richard Clothier's father Nick is more detached, cynical, negative but powerless to help. Daisy Beaumont has the most interesting and devious character as the devouring wolf-like journalist, Joanna, in search of a story but disguised as an overly compassionate sheep. Some of her manipulation will make the audience laugh at its audacity. Polly Kemp's clairvoyant Joyce has the annoying persona of a Hitchcock working class Cockney calling them Dearie and giving twittery explanations of her role. Tom Weston-Jones as the boy gives a complex and mysterious performance.
The first scenes work very well as does the one where a young man with amnesia answering Adam's description is found and brought back to the UK. But there on in, the play seems less credible and the ending is a no mans land of non delivery leaving the audience with an all over feeling of dissatisfaction rather than reflection. The problem with Enlightenment is that it doesn't live up to its name.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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