What a rare pleasure to be able to use the word "opaque" as a compliment.
Lizzie Mickery takes the disappearance and presumed death of an Anglican
vicar as the starting-point for a series of musings on loss and the social
definition of identity.
Though that makes it sound arid, it's anything but: Mickery's characters are far from ciphers, but nor are they overwritten, rubbing against one another in an intriguing, often amusing but always seemingly unforced manner. The play is paradoxically low on narrative but high on plot; it dwells upon the ramifications of a present predicament, never fully explaining its origins and stopping tantalisingly, defiantly short of any resolution as virtually every character gets to dance (literally and figuratively) on the graves of the past – theirs, their loved ones' and Mark Viner's decrepitly imposing tomb of a stage centrepiece.
Director Mary Peate doesn't attempt to force the script's hand, and Jan Chappell's occasional suspicion that she should be character-acting is the only slight flaw in a clutch of unfussy minor-key performances (most notably Kate Paul's as concerned but bewildered daughter Hannah). Not a play to he viewed passively, but certainly one to be viewed.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
Return to index of reviews for the year 1992
Return to master reviews index
Return to main theatre page
Return to Shutters homepage