FOLK: Tom Wells
Birmingham Rep, Hull Truck, Watford Palace (Touring)
Runs: 90 m, no interval
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 23 04 16
Heartwarming glimpse of humanity
FOLK is an intimate play, a touching story about the relationship between three misfits who find they fit with each other.
In a nutshell rather dotty nun Sister Winnie takes under her wing introvert middle-aged Stephen and 15 year old Kayleigh. They share an enjoyment of folk music and Winnie is keen for them to prepare a Folk concert for Easter coming. Set out like this it doesn’t sound terribly promising, but Winnie’s outgoing generosity of spirit, which draws in the two other characters, draws us in too. The result is a play, which while not entirely happy, is bursting with warm humanity. The power of friendship enables the characters to muddle through; a true enough reflection of most of our own lives.
Connie Walker is terrific as the eccentric, smoking, Guinness-drinking, nun. She drives the play along with seemingly inexhaustible energy, and with no sense of sugary sentiment. Patrick Bridgman holds his own as the quiet, uncertain Stephen, a lost soul if ever there was one; we are truly pleased with his blossoming at the play’s conclusion. Chloe Harris creates some warm comic moments and enables us to empathise with this young woman who comes to face head-on what will certainly be a tough road ahead.
Tessa Walker orchestrates a sensitive production; though the play has a shaky start – the relationship between Winnie and Stephen needs to be given breathing space from the word go.
In a cynical age, this is a welcome dose of un-cynicism.
Patrick Bridgman: Stephen
Chloe Harris: Kayleigh
Connie Walker: Winnie
Tessa Walker: Director
Bob Bailey: Designer
Simon Bond: Lighting Designer
James Frewer: Composer and Musical Director
Clive Meldrum: Sound Designer
Jo Gleave: Assistant Direcretor