Review: Circles, Tricycle

“If you’re just circling and I’m trekking all the way to Bourneville, we can just chill innit”

Split between the top deck of the Number 11 bus and the front room of a regular terrace house, Rachel De-lahay’s Circles comes to the Tricycle after a well-received run at the Birmingham Rep Theatre. Tightly coiled into 70 minutes and two interlocking narratives, it is a fierce shot in the arm that reminds us just how easily people get sucked into cycles of violence and how incredibly difficult it can be to break out of them.

Until recently, the number 11 bus service in Birmingham was the longest in Europe and to do a full circuit at just under two and a half hours was considered a rite of passage. 15 year old Demi uses it as an escape from the drudgery of her home life but a meeting with equally teenaged Malachi – his cocky swagger barely hiding his true marshmallow self – offers something different from the same routine. But for all the sweet romance that seems to build up as a connection of sorts is formed between the pair, is it all as innocuous as it seems? Continue reading “Review: Circles, Tricycle”

Review: Spring Storm, National Theatre

“I don’t know anything about Strindberg but it don’t sound practical to me”

The other part of the Young America mini-season at the National, Spring Storm is Tennessee Williams’ second play, written whilst still at college and this is apparently the first time the play has been performed in Europe. Set in the Mississippi delta, Southern belle Heavenly has almost everything a young woman could desire, but when she’s forced to decide between dull and respectable suitor Arthur and her handsome, wild lover Dick, her actions cause a chain of consequences that tear their lives apart.

I loved the fact that the central love triangle was cast the same as in Beyond the Horizon. As the impassioned Heavenly, Liz White is superb, throwing herself about with gay abandon in search of the grand amour that will satisfy her beating heart but also aware of the need to secure her position in life to avoid spinsterhood. Her performance here could have been the younger cousin of Rachel Weisz’s Blanche DuBois, one can definitely see how Williams’ incubated that character here. As her suitors, Michael Malarkey does better as the dull and mannered but rich Arthur, playing him with a real note of sadness , carrying much baggage from childhood. As the more masculine, rugged Dick, Michael Thomson brings such a real sexuality and physicality that one can see why Heavenly is reluctant to quit him, but it would have been nice to see more to him than the dumb jock. Continue reading “Review: Spring Storm, National Theatre”

Review: Beyond the Horizon, National Theatre

“You and me ain’t like most brothers”

As part of a ‘Young America’ season, Beyond the Horizon, the first play by Eugene O’Neill is being performed in rep with Tennessee William’s second play, Spring Storm at the Cottelsoe at the National Theatre. Originally produced by the Royal & Derngate in Northampton, the two works have been transferred down with their original casts, who play roles in both works, showing the connections between these two American playwrights as they formed their artistic visions.

Set on a rural New England farm, we follow the lives of two brothers Andy and Rob Mayo. Andy has taken on his father’s mantle with a great knack for farming and an understanding of the land whilst Rob is a dreamer with no interest in farming and a hankering for discovering life and the world beyond the horizon. When a declaration of love intervenes with the plans that have been made in order for the brothers to follow their dreams, a chain of decisions is set in motion and the play then traces the consequences of these actions through the ensuing years. Continue reading “Review: Beyond the Horizon, National Theatre”