‘This Wide Night’ @ The New Theatre

I’m not sure how many readers have criminal urges; in case any of you do it may be a good idea to watch this play first, whose portrayal of life after prison is haunting in all the right ways.

Lorraine (Lucy Bromilow) leaves prison with nowhere to go except for ex-cell-mate Marie’s (Meg Salter) claustrophobic flat which soon becomes too small a place to contain the women’s emotional turmoil. The play is centred upon the complex dynamic between the two characters, often shown in power struggles followed by episodes of intense vulnerability.

‘Tried to do herself in with a knee length sock’ and other such lines offered laugh out loud moments where they were needed, in the otherwise emotionally intense plot. This also added a heightened naturalism to the dialogue, which intensified the lows that the characters go through as they stand in contrast to these occasional highs.

However, this play is not for those with short attention spans. You may assume upon hearing that the sole characters are ex-convicts that some thrilling act of criminality may come to fruition during the performance, but this original source of intrigue goes unexplained, leading the plot level of the play to fall short of expectations at times.

Both costumes and set were authentic and effective: details such as the torn wallpaper were impressive and added immensely to the gritty working-class atmosphere on stage.

Overall, it was the wonderful, skilled performances by Meg Salter and Lucy Bromilow which made the play a success. From their convincing regional accents to their tear welling expressions and believable chemistry it was ultimately an expert production. And it is for their talent alone that I would recommend everybody watch This Wide Night.

So if you want an exciting, fast paced, action story of the criminal under classes, this isn’t for you – perhaps try Tool Academy – but what you will get from This Wide Night is a wonderful exploration of an unhealthy dependant relationship, performed expertly, which is guaranteed to pull at the heart strings.

Shaun Reeve

ArtsArts Reviews

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