by Dan Sherer.

Theatre 503 above The Latchmere Pub 503 Battersea Park Road SW11 3BW To 6 July 2013.
Tue-Sat 7.45pm.
Runs 1hr 5min No interval.

TICKETS: 020 7978 7040.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 23 June.

Love, loss and the sea, but not at full-tide.
Real Circumstance is a theatre company which develops plays by devising. This one is set by the Essex coast, where writer and director Dan Sherer grew up. The company’s approach “gives our work a level of detail and emotional clarity that is really unusual,” claims Sherer.

There’s more detail than clarity in what has resulted, while, for a company-devised piece, it seems heftily influenced in material and locale by its writer/director’s interests. He wants a love story; he gets a love story.

“Simple” is how he says he wanted it. But he has had to dig-up the path of true love, which looked set to run smooth, doing so by using the potentially rich identification of dead mother with living daughter. And an older character, an ex-soldier whose presence allows flares of temper and the possibility of violence which energises the surface action, intervenes with memories of the fate of Cleo’s mother.

Sherer also informs us that the company’s method “combines a clarity of performance and a depth brought about by improvisation, with the precision of authorship. This is united through a lyrical, theatrical aesthetic to make a piece that is deeply moving, and resonant to those who experience it.”

As with most improvisation-based work (excepting, for example, the better work of Mike Leigh), what it does in practice is create vivid moments with attenuated links. From the opening moment as young Tom battles with the sea, striking images and movement are interpolated within often dry periods of exposition.

If Sherer had worked as hard at structuring and clarifying his piece as he evidently has praising it, the result could have developed the contrast between the characters’ intensity of passion and loss and the quiet, self-enclosed community around them.

From its title, with the vacuous aspiration of a pop lyric, to the action where everyone seems to be working through their own intense emotional contributions, the audience is left to slalom a way through the switchback of time and emotions without any dramatic shading or reflection. We are left little to care about, in our share of this play’s today.

Cleo: Tamsin Joanna Kennard.
Tom: Jot Davies.
John: David Tarkenter.

Director: Dan Sherer.
Designer: James Cotterill.
Lighting: Michael Nabarro.
Sound: Steve Mayo.
Associate designer: Laura Cordery.
Associate Lighting: Sherry Coenen.

2013-07-03 08:07:31

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