a small house at the edge of the world

20 Sep

A SMALL HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD.
BY CHRIS LEE
AT THE TABARD THEATRE, CHISWICK

This is a location story, beautifully realised by designer Ken McClymont. The set is erected before your very eyes and the whole play is lit excellently by Luke Francis. The designer has had a quirky idea to use newspaper across the board to give the stories a timeless feel and an anonymity to the furniture and props. The play spans a long period in time and constantly spins from one era to another.
The plot concerns a couple who have a retreat ‘on the edge of the world’ a little house by the sea in the middle of nowhere.
They escape to the house frequently and their whole life in encapsulated in the memory of their visits to the house. It is important to know from the starts that the scenes are not in chronological order and some of them are tiny –just making one remark or marking one event. The writer believes that small insignificant happenings can become significant in the memory of the past . Tiny incidents are what life is about and the audience is left to find out what is the intrinsic meaning of them
The main events show the pair falling in love, getting married, producing a daughter, the deaths of parents ,etc. And the changes in their relationships – some loving, some violent.. The play acts like a diary recording scenes large or small that paint a whole picture. They are wittily illuminated by music as well as lighting and the choice of music is suitably chosen to help tell the story and create mood and atmosphere. I suspect much of it may be the combined choice both of the Director and the Writer who seem to work very closely together.. This would also apply to the casting of the two characters.
Laura Pradelska and Jaymes Sygrove have a difficult job, playing the two people at different ages quickly changing their performances from the twenties to the eighties without scene or make up changes. A pair of glasses and a shawl are the only things needed. Both actors are good to watch and are totally convincing – much to do with the impeccable direction of Ken McClymont who always manages to get into the mind of his writer.
Chris Lee has a gift for words and the script is pure poetry throughout. He is a fine writer who has won many awards for his work. My only worry is that the production is a little long and would have appreciated an interval This is purely personal because I believe that health wise ‘sitting is the new smoking’
However, it didn’t worry the rest of the audience, who happily gave a standing ovation at the end and there was a great deal of conversation in the bar afterwards…

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