Prism, Terry Johnson, Birmingham REP and touring to 30th November, 5*****: Dan Auluk

Prism written and directed by Terry Johnson


The Birmingham REP Theatre, 3 – 12th October

Then touring until 30th November

Runs: 2h 10m, one interval

Tickets: 0121 236 4455
Info and Tickets:

Review Dan Auluk 10 Oct 2019

Terry Johnson’s captivating, funny and poignant new play, Prism, is a delightful and thought provoking experience. Oscar award winning Cinematographer Jack Cardiff (Robert Lindsay) has retired and living in the early stages of dementia. He lives in a celluloid world that has passed but is still very real to him. His reality is further helped (or not) by his son, Mason (Oliver Hembrough) who has set up a garage in which his father Jack, is surrounded by memorabilia from a lifetime of work. Mason is trying to encourage his father to write his autobiography.

The plays exploration of dementia issues resonates powerfully. There are laughs aplenty, timely and witty, as well as comfortable silences in the more poignant scenes of the decline of Jack. To see actors act and embody their characters is a joy. The video set changes in Prism were exquisite.

Robert Lindsay’s physicality, diction and brilliance of performance appears effortless – he shifts from an older to a younger Jack Cardiff. Lindsay’s is outstanding.

All performances are strong and multi-layered, especially characters re-playing a scene from the present to the past. Nicola/Katie (Tara Fitzgerald) who plays her version of Katharine Hepburn, a raw, rustic and very believable, humorous portrayal is impressively dignified.

Victoria Blunt (Lucy) as the troubled support worker / Marilyn Munroe is refreshingly funny and assured. Oliver Hembrough (Mason) playing both the son of Jack Cardiff and Humphrey Bogart is equally comedic and charming.

Prism is a marvellous exploration of relationships and as a bonus we get an engrossing insight into ‘painting with light’.

Jack’s determined grip on his own reality is key here. All that is left now is to go back and marvel at Jack Cardiff’s legacy.

Jack Cardiff: Robert Lindsay

Nicola: Tara Fitzgerald

Lucy: Victoria Blunt

Mason: Oliver Hembrough

Playwright and Director: Terry Johnson

Designer: Time Shortall

Lighting Designer: Ben Ormerod

Video Designer: Ian William Galloway

Sound Designer: John Leonard

Music: Colin Towns

Associate Director: Charlotte Conquest


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