Torn is the first play I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve been living mainly on a theatre diet of musicals and dance productions that I was yearning for something a bit different, something more serious…I chose to see Torn by Nathaniel Martello-White – I got what I was yearning for.
This play is a full on, in your face script and the actors who played the characters really brought it to life, impressively without much in the way of fancy costumes, lighting tricks or dramatic exits and entrances.
Here is a taste of the mood of this play…
Torn is about Angel ( Adelle Leonce), who has arranged a family gathering in a local community hall with the intention of getting something off her chest…It turns out that she is accusing her step-father of abusing her and her Mother, Aunties, Cousin and Brother all have varying degrees of belief or care about the matter.
Angel’s Mother (Indra Ove) seems to only care about herself and about getting a better life rather than the welfare of her children. Angel’s real father, Brian (Roger Griffiths) also his own issues, primarily with alcohol, which leaves Angel desperate for an adult to believe her, she seems to confide in the beloved Aunty L (Lorna Brown) alot.
She doesn’t seem to have a very close relationship with her brother (Jamael Westman), so you do feel quite sorry for her.
There is also a sub-plot, regarding the sexuality of Angel’s cousin.
The beginning of the play starts with Angel sitting on a chair in the middle of an empty hall, with stacked chairs either side of her. She begins to assemble the chairs into a circle, in the style that you would for a counselling group session.
It all starts without warning. One minute I was getting into my seat in the audience, the next chairs were being un-stacked and dialogue started to flow, it felt, at first, like I was spying on a private event, that we were a part of it all.
That’s because it didn’t feel like a theatre at all…there was no stage, no curtains, no theatrical lights. Just an open, bare hall, with plastic chairs and a Tea/Coffee urn in the corner on a table, alongside plastic cups to make tea.
As actors exited from the spotlight within a scene, they took a seat on an empty chair alongside the audience, yes, they sat with us! Amazing, I know, I am so used to carefully choreographed exits and entrances that this was a breath of fresh air 🙂
Costumes were just normal everyday casual clothing, Jeans & Top Sandals, Trainers, that sort of thing – very real, like a real family would dress on a normal day that wasn’t a special occasion.
As soon as the script dropped, it was pure tension…unspoken words causing tension, words spoken causing more tension but this is mixed with humour & teasing giving us some light relief, but the actors perform the script going back and forth from past to present day, switching subjects then hopping back to the same topic, at times it was confusing but they did it in a realistic way that families interact with each other.
Indra Ove was mesmerising to watch, (although I did’t like her character very much), and that is tough considering Adelle Leonce was fantastic as Angel, she had that perfect mix of vunerability, anger and guilt, both these ladies are fantastic in their roles.
The rest of the cast were great too and all contribute immensely to the overall production.
I’m not sure why only 3 characters have names in this play, Angel, Steve and Brian. The rest of the characters are referred to only by their position, ie; Aunty L, Brother, Cousin etc…
I loved the ‘realness’ of this play and the way that no theatrical gimmicks were used.
Like in real life, a situation like this would actually play out like this…people talking over each other, pushing for their opinion to get heard, anger, tension, disbelief, memories, reasons, blame – it’s all covered and more in this impressive script.
It makes you think how important is family? Should you live to please them or yourself first?
If you wish to catch this production, tickets are from only £10 at the Royal Court Theatre until 15th October 2016
See Torn if you want to see something ‘Raw & Real’