by James Graham.

New Vic Theatre Etruria Road ST5 0JG To 26 July 2014.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 2.15pm.
Audio-described 26 July 2.15pm.
Captioned 23 July.
Post-show Discussion 23 July.
Runs 1hr 30min No interval.

TICKETS: 01782 717962.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 17 July.

Happy experience for characters and audience..
Only three months ago playwright James Graham caused a stir with his new play Privacy, investigating the ways modern technology allows invasions of supposedly private lives. A fit time, then, for the New Vic to revive Graham’s 2009 play, originally produced by Mold’s Clwyd Theatr Cymru, with its different angle on private lives.

If Welsh voices are detectable in this strong revival it might be down to director Emma Lucia, who must have come across History while working at Mold. Her staging of what is essentially a gentle love story exploits the New Vic space with its own technology. At the centre are young adults Robin and Jacqui, their lives blighted by a rare fear, that if they venture outside they will have space debris land upon them.

While there is firm support onstage from various family members, and onscreen from Simon Dutton’s authoritative psychiatrist, the two lovers-to-be set the tone and pace of the action. The internet, one of the problematic aspects of life in Privacy, is a means of salvation here, for it allows the two young people to communicate, gain confidence in their shared phobia and begin a life of dances and eating-in together via e-mails and skype.

It almost seems things do fall as Nick Beadle’s lighting sends coloured patterns whirling onto the flat acting space. But, under Lucia’s direction Tom Hurley and Antonia Kinley create the dynamic of the action, hesitant, fearful yet hopeful. The natural energy and affection thrive as they encounter for the first time someone else who feels the way they do.

As the two possess the stage it can be hard to believe the characters are still in their separate rooms. And there’s the fear of a near miss as they eventually stand in the street, she protecting herself with an umbrella while nearby he ’phones to say he can’t make a meeting, from an old-style ’phone kiosk with bright red panels that seem like prison bars.

So, old technology helps out in the day of the mobile and internet. It’s a happy end to a strange-sounding yet happy repertory choice.

John: Simon Dutton.
Robin: Tom Hurley.
Jacqui: Antonia Kinley.
Lesley: Pamela Merrick.
Jimmy: Keiron Self.
Reece: Llion Williams.

Director: Emma Lucia.
Designer: Mark Bailey.
Lighting: Nick Beadle.
Sound: James Earls-Davis.
Choreographer: Rachel Catherall.

2014-07-21 15:26:15

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