‘Far Apart’ written by Alice Walker (also director) and Libby Horobin (also producer) is a beautifully poignant piece of theatre that explores sibling relationships in challenging times. The storyline is highly relatable, engaging and tentatively addresses issues like loneliness, illness and growing up.
I am in a unique position as a reviewer, as I have been a part of Walker’s previous quarantine play ‘Misorientation’. ‘Far Apart’ is an excellent follow on to Walker’s debut piece of writing for the Nottingham New Theatre (NNT). The amazing thing about the NNT is that you can watch students develop, and it is clear from Walker’s writing that she is doing exactly this, even in these challenging times. The play makes the best of 2020 and follows the sibling dynamic via FaceTime calls, not because of the pandemic but because they are quite literally far apart. Horobin and Walker should be truly proud of the way this play demonstrates how brilliant creative minds can be in challenging times. But also, this play is and will still be an amazing watch long after our lives go back to (fingers crossed) normal.
The entire play feels timeless and the beautiful videography included was both captivating and calming
The intimate storyline follows just three characters who are siblings. The eldest is sensitive yet articulate Alex, played by Mikey Flannery. The middle child, Cal, is wonderfully portrayed by Georgia Barnwell. Last, but by no means least Lelah Gorgin plays Andi, the baby of the family. ‘Far Apart’ is both Gorgin and Flannery’s first performance with the NNT, but after this I expect we will be seeing much more of them. By contrast, Barnwell has been part of the NNT since 2018 and I feel this role perfectly demonstrates how truly talented she is. Each character was extremely well developed to the point where I began to feel as though I knew them personally, which is remarkable for such a short performance. I especially loved the moments where the calls were one to one, as it enabled me to really understand each pairing’s relationship.
I thoroughly enjoyed the character of Andi, probably because I was able to relate to her most. She experiences the isolating, yet all too familiar experience of friends going to University and being left behind. I loved her cheeky nature as the youngest sibling and how this was later contrasted by her incredible maturity in handling the mother’s illness. I thought this was a lovely example of how terrible situations can shape us into better people. I loved the scene where she was sat talking on her bedroom floor, visibly upset and confiding in her siblings, as this displayed Gorgin’s versatility and flair for acting. I also really commend Barnwell and Flannery for their ability portray subtle emotions, like helplessness, whilst experiencing their mother’s deterioration from a distance. The way the script was written nurtured this as all the conversations felt wonderfully natural and a pleasure to listen to, even in the saddest of moments. The use of Facetime calls and use of camera angles complimented this even further.
Another aspect of this play that I particularly enjoyed was the use of seasons. The entire play feels timeless and the beautiful videography included was both captivating and calming. This aspect is a real credit to all involved, but particularly Em Rule (sound designer), Izzy De Bono (creative assistant and captioner), Jasmine Butler and Rose Edgeworth (video editors). My favourite part of this was the use of seasonal costume, especially the Christmas jumpers and summery outfits. It left me feeling completely convinced that time was passing. It is remarkable to think about the short amount of time the team had to complete such an amazing film!
Further supporting this, the scene transitions are a seamless blend of seasonal motifs with characters completing similar, everyday activities. I appreciate the fact they were included as it felt like a nod to traditional, in-person theatre. The ending of the play, although sad, feels right. As an audience member, you are left assured that the three characters are going to be okay. Without giving too much away the odd socks moment bought a tear to my eye. The play is fictional, but you could tell that it drew upon very real experiences. I feel that, at the right time, this play could provide real comfort to anybody experiencing grief.
‘Far Apart’ is an excellent follow on to Walker’s debut piece of writing for the Nottingham New Theatre
I urge absolutely everybody to take the time to enjoy ‘Far Apart’, available on the NNT’s YouTube channel. The relatability of the writing and the outstanding acting really does make it a real pleasure to watch. I’d give it six stars if I could, it is an absolute credit to everybody involved – well done all.
Featured image courtesy of Nottingham New Theatre . No changes made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of @farapart.nnt via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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