Our Share of Tomorrow*** (Theatre 503, 18 June 2013)

Posted: June 19, 2013 in Theatre

This review was originally written for The Public Reviews: http://www.thepublicreviews.com

Set in a Northern Ireland coastal town, this 70 minute one-act play examines themes of romantic love, parent/child love, loss and grief and considers how fragments from the past can shape the future. Its writer and director Dan Sherer adopts techniques to create his work in conjunction with the actors, similar to those used by Mike Leigh, with whom he has previously worked. However, there is little evidence of Leigh’s trademark style of understated drama and gradual character development. The play is produced by Sherer’s Colchester-based Real Circumstance Theatre Company and was originally staged in 2010. Cleo (Tamsin Joanna Kennard) is a 15-year old girl who, having just lost her mother, seeks out Tom (Jot Davies), her father, himself only 32, who had no previous knowledge of her existence. She is accompanied by an older man, John (David Tarkenter) who has assumed the role of her protector. These three characters are drawn together by their inner needs and, although a fourth character, Grace, the dead mother, never appears, her presence is felt throughout. Tom still fails to understand the sudden departure of his teenage love and, with the arrival of Cleo, imagines it is her returning to him. John had been a British soldier in the Ulster conflict and sees in Cleo the face of a girl that he could not save from being brutalised during that time. Cleo mourns the loss of her imperfect mother and seeks a new sense of belonging. The acting has a rawness and intensity that, for the most part, serves the play well and the script contains a lyrical quality that complements its stark themes. However, do we really care for or identify with these characters? From the very beginning, this production is emotionally full-on and it never relents; we are immediately confronted with characters in torment and conflict before having any idea of who they are or what is troubling them and, thereafter, there are few light shades to contrast with the dark, few pauses for reflection and few convincing demonstrations of love or tenderness. More variations in pace and tone could have yielded a much greater overall impact. There can be no doubting the energy and commitment of all involved in this production. They have created a quality drama that explores deep emotions and it will resonate to some degree with most who see it. There are many things to admire in the play, but, with so much going for it, it should have been a lot more involving and a lot more moving.

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