REVIEW: ★★★ The Trick, The Bush Theatre

Eve Leigh’s The Trick, directed by Roy Alexander Weise, is an intimate and slightly mystifying exploration into ageing, grief and the realities of loss. Equally playful as it is poignant, the cast of four guides the audience through this episodic narrative. The scenes are constantly flickering, revealing hospital rooms, fortune tellers and conversations about when to feed the goldfish. Rooted in the aftermath of her husband’s death, Mira (Lachele Carl) questions how she can continue on without her partner by her side?

Squeezed shoulder to shoulder into the studio, the audience watch as the cast weave between Jemima Robinson’s vibrant set pieces. Lachele Carl, Ani Nelson and Sharlene Whyte have a natural chemistry, the three women navigating the rapidly changing tone of the production with ease. They carry the show, and between them, the seventy-five-minute piece flies by in what feels like ten. David Verrey appears onstage briefly as Jonah (the husband), a comforting voice to Mira from the great beyond. However, his lack of stage time does not leave long enough for the audience to feel any emotional connection to him – or their relationship. 

Odinn Orn Hilmarsson’s sound design complements the patchwork of tones in this production. He adds a poignant undercurrent throughout, and in certain moments his work allows the scene to simply swell with emotion. It is the unpredictably of each scene that adds a certain flair to this piece, but could also add a layer of confusion. Although the play seeks to discuss bereavement through an experimental approach, throughout the play certain interludes often feel disconcerting. The three women quickly eating ice-cream or the audience participation palm reading session. However, despite these somewhat jarring scenes, the production redeems any faults in its final moments. 

With all four actors on stage, we are presented with a list of the realities we refuse to acknowledge. About age, funerals, death and the forgotten. The moments that we sweep so neatly under the rug, and the final disappearing acts we cannot face. It is in this moment the play really comes into its own, as the actors look out towards the audience and deliver these pockets of sobering truth. 

“We will remember you all our lives, and it still won’t be enough”.


Olivia Mackrill 



Images: Helen Murray

Olivia Mackrill
Olivia Mackrill

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