Box of Tricks
Lowry Studio, Salford
07 November 2013 to 09 November 2013
A smart and engaging new play from a new young theatre company, committed to “the next generation of new writing.”
In Doggerland is set at the intersection of the lives of two sets of people – a father and daughter still coping with loss, and a young brother and sister who unwittingly become a catalyst for change.
The delicacy of playwright Tom Morton-Smith’s narrative is that this becomes a play about identity, both lost and found, and even the role that photographs – or alcohol for that matter – can sometimes play in the process.
An intricate and intriguing story is peeled away with extreme delicacy. Morton-Smith and director Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder create four concise and credible characters, even if their coming together revolves around the credulity-stretching coincidence of a snapped photograph.
But deal with that and there’s still an elaborate drama wrapped around memories, images and grief. The father Sam (Clive Moore) is gifted a quite exceptional little speech about the drowning pain of loss.
He’s one of the four emotionally brittle characters submerged in a metaphorical Doggerland, the terrain that once connected Britain to Europe. Moore is a familiar face around the region’s theatres, and on TV, and can easily convey the sense of a soul lost at sea.
Young newcomers Benjamin Blyth and Jennifer Tan, as the brother and sister Linus and Marnie, shoulder an equal burden of the dramatic weight. He’s been burdened by too much responsibility too early in life, and she’s catching up rapidly after a life put on hold. To say more would spoil the story’s axis.
As Kelly, the grieving daughter, MTA-winning Natalie Grady turns in another eye-catching character from this young actress. Remember the name – you won’t forget the performance.
Reviewer: David Upton