Pros: Captivating and relevant.
Cons: Open ending leaves you wanting more.
Theatre503 is always a great place to come back to and it made me excited to know that I would be headed to my local theatre to see a play on a rainy Monday evening. As per my usual ritual, I only knew the name of the show, so I was eager to see what it was all about.
For those that haven’t visited this venue, it’s a fantastic intimate space on the top floor of The Latchmere pub in Battersea. It is a theatre that’s a pioneer in supporting new artists and the next generation of theatre makers.
I made my way up the stairs and was welcomed by the smiling faces of the friendly staff who handed me my ticket, plus a copy of the script – a lovely surprise and a first for me.
Moving through the cosy auditorium I planted myself in the third row and tried to focus on every little object that was already on the yellow-lit stage. The setting was that of a Victorian era kitchen. I must applaud the attention to detail of the set design; it was like looking into someone else’s kitchen, with empty wine bottles by the bin, dishes by the sink, and children’s drawings on the walls. The most calming music was playing in the background as I settled into my seat and waited for the lights to dim.
Reared is a play written by BAFTA award winner John Fitzpatrick. It centres around an Anglo-Irish family of four living under one roof. We are first introduced to Eileen, played by Shelley Atkinson, a woman in her forties who struggles to divide her time between looking after her husband’s adoptive mother Nora, played by Paddy Glynn, and looking after her family.
Eileen and Stuart’s 15 year old daughter Caitlin has problems of her own – after a drunken party she ends up getting pregnant. While trying to look out for her child, Eileen grapples with the fact that Nora is starting to show signs of dementia, and neither Stuart nor Caitlin want to face the truth.
The play transports you into the lives of a family facing social concerns like teen pregnancy and dementia, ones that are often either ignored or not spoken about widely. Through a dark comedic tone and unmissable humour you witness an incredible story.
Although heavy at times, the story is told with such precision through the writing and the performances, that even though you may wipe a tear or two away from your cheek, the gentle family moments will also warm your heart.
Once again a play that should be seen by everyone that is interested interested in the dynamics of family relationships. Bravo John Fitzpatrick, and bravo Theatre503!
Writer: John Fitzpatrick
Director: Sarah Davey-Hull
Associate Producer: Julia Mucko
Designer: Sammy Dawson
Lighting Designer: Jamie Platt
Sound Designer: Dominic Kennedy
Booking Until: 28 April 2018
Box Office: 020 7978 7040
Booking Link: https://theatre503.com/whats-on/reared