by Stuart Slade.
Theatre 503 The Latchmere 503 Battersea Park Road SW11 3BW To 29 November 2014.
Tue–Sat & 24 Nov 7.45pm Sun 5pm except 23 Nov 8pm.
Runs 1hr 35min No interval.
TICKETS: 0207 978 7040.
Review: William Russell 9 November.
Funny, but it’s no laughing matter.
Jen, a University student, and her wastrel Uncle Len are clearing out a garage which is full of old clothes, bottles, boxes and the detritus of someone’s life. They down cans of beer; Len drowns some mice he has caught in humane traps, much to Jen’s disgust. Their conversation is funny, quirky and larded with the F word.
But the reality is no laughing matter. It emerges that the stuff they are disposing of belonged to Jen’s father, a BBC star, who was knighted and who, after he was charged with child abuse, killed himself. The play deals with the way his daughter and his brother come to some kind of terms with what happened. The brother knew more than he admitted to himself. The daughter knew nothing. But now she gets spat at in supermarkets.
It adds up to a thoroughly engrossing piece of theatre which takes a disturbing look at what happens to the families of the Savilles of this world.
Slade’s writing is effective and it is a well-constructed piece, but his use of the F word becomes irritating. Neither character would, one feels, use it that much anyway and it loses its power to shock through endless repetition.
The performances are terrific. Graham O’Mara as Len, the wastrel overshadowed by his clever brother, gradually reveals he is a far more complex person that he seems at first, and Jennifer Clement as Jen is very moving as a girl slowly finding out how to face up to the fact her beloved father was an abuser.
Uncle Len: Graham O’Mara.
Jen: Jennifer Clement.
Director: Dan Pick.
Designer: Georgia de Grey.
Lighting: Christopher Nairne.
Sound: Kieran Lucas.
Composer: Ned Roberts.