Pros: Excellent script, thrilling storyline and very well executed.
Cons: Slow-paced second half that had the audience slightly agitated.
The Brockley Jack Theatre was the most authentic and atmospheric I have ever experienced it. I enjoy coming to the venue because of its warm vibes and the inviting welcome you get from the theatre and pub staff whenever you’re there. Brockley is a vibrant part of southeast London and I thought it was a very fitting venue for OutFox Productions’ The Bad Seed.
Maxwell Anderson’s beloved and well-known play tells the chilling tale of the Penmarks, a seemingly happy family with everything they could dream of. With her husband out of town, Christine catches on to the bad things that happen when her daughter Rhoda is around and things take a turn for the worse.
The story of this family and their lives is incredible, written in such a way that really does leave you needing more. There is a pace to the entire script that is very cleverly arranged through Anderson’s writing and Fricker’s direction. It is quick-witted, starting lighthearted and spiralling to a devastating and (annoyingly) well-done completion.
The lighting, set and props are beautifully matched together. The authenticity and characteristics of the time period are so wonderfully mapped out in this show. The lighting is especially glorious, warm and action-oriented, the design mapping out the entire production beautifully.
I had never seen the theatre seating set out as it was. With it being such a small space I had wondered what changes could be made to make full use of the space. This production utilised a U-shape seating and, luckily, the sound from the performers was never lost, although there were of course missing aspects of the performance depending on your seat.
The performers all around did a very admirable job with such a gripping storyline. Each one transformed their character so that they were strong, lovable and completely in tune with the others. A special word to Rebecca Rayne (Rhoda) and Brian Mery (Leroy) for their clever and very interesting scenes together; they brought an element to the entire production that would have been absent without their sheer determination and wonderful connection.
The second half lacked the pace with which the first half started which, partnered with the rising temperature of the room, may have made the audience agitated at times. But there was absolutely a turnaround with the twists that the performance had in store for us.
This is an excellent revival by OutFox Productions, and the amazing story is something definitely worth seeing. The Brockley Jack is always an amazing place to see fringe productions and The Bad Seed is absolutely one of them. Most likely not suitable for children, but definitely worth a chilled spring evening out at the theatre.
Director: John Fricker
Author: Maxwell Anderson
Producer: Kirsty Fox
Box Office: 0333 666 3366
Booking Link: http://www.brockleyjack.co.uk/portfolio/the-bad-seed/
Booking Until: 1 April 2017