Review: ★★★★ Vincent River, Trafalgar Studios

Transferring from The Park Theatre, Robert Chevara’s  production of Philip Ridley’s ‘Vincent River’ is now showing at The Trafalgar Studios.

Set in Anita’s living room, studio 2 at Trafalgar Studios provides an intimate setting for this powerful exchange to take place. There are cardboard boxes dotted around the floor, various gin bottles, and a bare bulb that has been hastily plugged in without lampshade (set and costume designed by Nicolai Hart Hansen) and it becomes apparent immediately that Anita has just moved in. Anita, a powerful matriarchal figure played by (Louise Jameson), receives a knock at the door- and in walks Davey, (Thomas Mahy), a youth with an MLE accent, hoody and black eye.

The two are like chalk and cheese, old East end meets new, and a dialogue begins with awkward stops and starts, as they get past hellos and down to the reason that they have come into each other’s lives. Anita is aware Davey has been stalking her and welcomes him into her living room, earnestly seeking answers for his sudden appearance. Davey takes a while to trust Anita, and dances around the reason he is there. We learn that Anita has just lost her son, Vincent, and instinctively knows that there is more to Davey than meets the eye- she is proved right as his story develops when the two get to know each other better.

Greek Tragedy-esque, ‘Vincent River’ takes place in one time and place, and deals with a tragedy- a modern hate crime. Both Jameson and Mahy, provide incredibly natural and heartfelt performances, bringing a sensitivity that this piece needs. The issues that are discussed within the piece feel incredibly relevant, as still too often people who are ‘different’ in todays’ society are pushed out, shunned and treated differently. Kudos to director Robert Chevara, as although the action takes place in one room, the different exchanges of conversation, detailed story-telling moments contrasted with emotional accusations and interrogation keep this piece alive and moving.

Victoria Margaret

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