Friday, July 21, 2017

REVIEW: Out of Love (Theatr Clwyd, Mold)

What is it, that "fire between women", as playwright Elinor Cook calls it? Not even the main characters in this thoughtful play can admit to defining that special and particular relationship that women have. One might say that friendship is merely a ceasefire between women, but that's too harsh, too simple a definition. It's much more complex than that.

Cook's Out of Love examines the friendship between two women over the course of a couple of decades. They grow up together, as close friends, but inevitably drift apart as their adult lives begin to develop and divert. On the one hand we have the sensible yet sensitive Lorna, all thick blonde curls and brave faces, while on the other we have the more outgoing Grace, a bundle of energy and ideas lacking a driving focus. We see these two girls at different stages of their lives together, as children, as teenagers, and as grown adults, and the story is both tragic and heart-warming.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

REVIEW: The B Word (King's Arms, Salford)

Dan is an ordinary kind of guy. He works as an airport baggage inspector. He cares as best he can for his mum, who suffers with Multiple Sclerosis. He loves doughnuts and hates mushrooms. He's a twentysomething everyman who we can all relate to. He's likeable and honest.

But Dan is also a "yes man", a pleaser, one of those people who's just too polite to say no or ask questions. He's typically English in that he'd rather smile and turn a blind eye than face confrontation. Which isn't the most ideal personality trait for an airport baggage inspector.

This performance is semi-immersive in that solo performer Ryan Gilmartin (as Dan) sits among the audience in what is supposed to be his staff room during a break. Dan has sandwiches to eat, and shares around bags of doughnuts (the chocolate custard doughnuts wisely remained unopened, but the jam ones went down very well in the performance I attended!). He talks to the audience as his confidantes, like fellow staff members on a lunch break, and over the course of 40 minutes or so he shares his thoughts on everything from the heroism in Star Wars to the depressing nature of current affairs.