Bush Theatre, London W12
Opened 7 June, 1991

Once in a while you encounter a production that, of itself, oughtn't to be exceptional; you know, not great or revelatory, just very, very good everything absolutely in place. This is one such. Over the course of a day and a night, a pair of young marrieds break up and make up; the cracked captain of a grounded tug and his saturnine boozing brother are reconciled; and behind it all lurk the significant absences the wife's crippled father, the brothers' dead mother, and the futility of the disabled tug herself.

Ted Moore's writing doesn't strain the compression of time, and has created at least one great character in the defensively cynical elder brother Robbo. Director Brian Stirner elicits a series of understated performances which make one momentarily wonder that this might after all be a TV play in disguise, until one finds oneself under its spell. To repeat: Across The Ferry shouldn't be anything special, but it is because it's so completely an encapsulation of what successful studio theatre can be, and ought to be.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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