The first of the double billed plays performed in the Caccia theatre last week was My Child, directed by James Newberry. It followed the relationship between two divorced parents and their son; with the central plot driver being the father kidnapping his son.
The play explored masculinity through the portrayal of the relationship between the ‘man’, played by Jake Simpson, and the ‘child’. The child, played Xander Hill, originally idolises his wrestling step-dad Karl, played by Sam Wilbur, and admonishes his weak father. The father’s internal questioning of his own masculinity is explored further through imagined arguments with his dead mother.
I thought it was directed very precisely and powerfully. Some of the more ephemeral scenes were fully interwoven through the staging and blocking of the actors. Performers were integrated among the audience and I particularly enjoyed sitting near to Gran, convincingly acted by Eugenio Vecchi.
The performance from the overall cast was stellar and they were well chosen. I found the performance of the tripartite of the mother, father and son very convincing. Simon Billings’ passive-aggressive venom as the mother was well balanced with her adoring love for her son, whilst Simpson as the central character expressed his internal struggle with depth and Hill effectively portrayed his character’s naivety.
The second and longer of the two plays, Pink Mist, was directed by Calum Baker. It portrayed a trio of friends who join the army and the trauma they encounter whilst serving.
It was boldly directed; each cast member participating in physical theatre to create the atmosphere of war. The shouts of ‘Who wants to play war?’ emphatically filled the Caccia both at the end and the beginning of the play, the message changing from a youthful game-like chant to an emotional questioning.
I enjoyed each performance of the cast. The three leads Arthur, Hads and Taff, played by Tyrese George, Greg Cusworth and Ned Pleydell-Bouverie respectively, were each portrayed convincingly. I felt particularly moved by the relationship portrayed between Hads and his mother Sarah, played by Orlando Oliver, and I thought Pleydell-Bouverie’s physical portrayal of the traumatic residue of serving in Afghanistan incredibly powerful.
I heard a passing comment from a boy that it was one of the only school plays in which they’ve been moved to tears, and the audience was certainly entranced by the emotive ending.
Congratulations to all involved