Saturday, 20 September 2014

Theatre Review

Often as a writer watching other people's plays I see things I would do differently, but if a play is working well I just find myself sitting back and being drawn into the experience, which is what happened with a play I saw last night. 

The Visit is Spanish writer Nieves Lopez's first play written in English, and it's a claustrophobic drama that is keeping the audience on the edge of their seats at the Olympus Theatre on Barton Street this week.

The play opens with a young girl telling us her story while a video is played showing the event that triggers the action about to happen. This worked really well as a shorthand way of feeding us the back story, and from then on we were straight into the action. Two sisters, played with genuine warmth and affection by Monica Crespo and Fleur Hanby, are forced into an absurd situation with seemingly no way out but for someone to die. The rest of the story is a game driven by the extremely creepy Isabel Vargas, and the silent but deadly Lara Hall. The all female cast beautifully underplay their roles, allowing silences to speak vividly, and creating an extremely creepy and intense feel on stage.

The simple setting of the piece in a small apartment adds to the claustrophobic effect, and the audience were carried along with the story, and kept guessing about how the story would be resolved until the very last moment.

This is an extremely accomplished piece of work from a Gloucestershire based writer who is certainly one to watch as her career progresses, and I'm thrilled that she's part of the Olympus Scriptorium writers project.
As a bonus to the play there is an introductory appearance from Eve Loiseau as Edith Piaf, poignantly setting the mood before the play starts. And, keeping the audience glued to their seats during the interval was local singer songwriter Joel Ramsey.

The Visit offers a truly good night out at the Olympus Theatre, which is giving local talent a much needed space to develop and flourish.


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