Theatre Review - “In Doggerland”, The Lowry Studio, Salford Quays – Friday 8th November 2013

In Doggerland - Box of Tricks

In Doggerland - Box of Tricks - Credit: Archant

Rob Gemmell reviews the Box of Tricks production “In Doggerland” at The Lowry Studio, Salford Quays

Box of Tricks are a Manchester based company with the key aim dedicated to developing and producing the best new theatre work around. I recently spoke to co-founder and director of “In Doggerland”, Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder, regarding the play written by Tom Morton-Smith and she spoke with great intrigue and desire regarding it.

The story is based around four characters that all hold a connection with each other. We are briefly introduced firstly to father and daughter, Simon and Kelly, in a passing scene which asks an, as-of- yet unanswered question in one of the story’s key points.

The action is then quickly moved onto brother and sister, Linus and Marnie, who are visiting the coast for the weekend and are holed up in a grotty B&B. As the action continues the purpose of their visit is exposed and the connection between Simon and Kelly is slowly revealed. Both Simon and Kelly have a dark past which is gradually uncovered and the purpose of the siblings visit exhibited. Simon lost his wife over 5 years ago and was left to bring up twin daughters, but tragedy dealt a second blow to him when his daughter Melissa, Kelly’s twin, was taken from them in a car accident. Marnie had been struggling with a heart condition for many years and was on the donor waiting list awaiting a suitable match when Melissa’s heart became available.

Marnie had struggled to deal with having something within her that she didn’t feel was hers so wanted to arrange the trip to visit the hearts origin and to meet the people affected by a tragedy that led to longevity of another life in order to grow more acustom to it.

Tom Morton-Smith’s script is heartfelt and thought provoking allowing the feeling of different emotions bond as one and allow change in order to reach a settlement. The storyline portrayed varying emotions handled delicately against a difficult subject matter. The dialect of his words were occasionally witty, but with an underlying message spoken out through the characters in a piece of work dedicated to his expertise.

Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder is a young director with great ideas. When speaking to her in an interview recently she oozed enthusiasm and passion for her work and I felt a warm sentiment to her. She eclipsed my original strong belief in her work with a thoroughly well directed, natural story. The inclusion of an anthemic heartbeat orchestrated throughout the soundtrack of the storyline was a fantastic touch allowing the emphasis of the storyline to play to the audience. Scenes overlapped with such ease that the flow of the play was never affected and allowed the cast to bring effectiveness to light and the use of everyday noises in the background of scenes added realism.

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The four actors all put in very strong performances. Their presence gave off a naturalism rarely conjured in performances such as this allowing the realism and factual elements of the message in the story to cement themselves to your conscious. Each actor seperated themselves nicely from one another with varying characteristics to give a kaleidscope of emotions that balanced the storyline out.

Clive Moore portrayed the role of Simon, the widow having to deal with the loss of both a wife and daughter. His enigmatic performance bode well to the story. The display of his talent was quite evident of a man trying to remain composed, but struggling to keep his darkest emotions within.

Natalie Grady played his daughter Kelly who has quite a disturbed soul. A character tormenting herself with grief, but stubborn to not let her emotions get the better of her. The rigidity of her performance allowed the character of Kelly to shine through. Grady provided an effective, direct and professional performance of pure brilliance.

Benjamin Blyth played Linus, the one character to not have been directly affected by the theme of the story, but dealing with his own diffculties of trying to move on with his life and allowing his sister to do the same. Bltyth began playing the role with a debonairic charm which progressively developed with a range of emotions and added a professional glaze to his performance really proving his ability as an actor.

Jennifer Tan played the role of Marnie, the young girl who held the heart of a family and was symbolic in the restoration of other lives aside from her own. Tan was exceptional in her role and manufactured the young, sometimes foolhardy nature of the character well. For a young actor, Tan stood with professionalism and showed great experience.

The message conveyed in the story of the play is not soley regarding organ transplants, but family matters. It shows how tragedy can divide a family, but how strength of character and true beliefs can bring them back together again.

The full nationwide tour dates are as follows…

14th November at 7.30pm -Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven

15th November at 8pm - Derby Theatre Studio

19th November at 7.30pm -Mill at the Pier, Wigan

20th November at 7.45pm -York Theatre Royal Studio

21st November at 7.50pm -The Continental, Preston

22nd-23rd November -Lantern Theatre, Liverpool

26th November at 8pm -Exeter Phoenix

27th November at 8pm -Square Chapel, Halifax

28th-30th November at 7.45pm -Theatr Clwyd, Mold

For further information on Box of Tricks isit their website…

www.boxoftrickstheatre.co.uk

www.robgemmell.co.uk

@robgemmell1