The People’s Play: In My Father’s House
By Patrick Robertson
In association with New Writing North
Newcastle People’s Theatre
Until 1st November 2014.
Everyone probably thinks their family is unique as it has dysfunctional characters in it and relationships that don’t always go to plan. The most recent winner of The People’s Play is Patrick Robinson’s exploration of family and the strain that relationships are put under.
Adam heads back to the family home for his Father’s funeral with his husband Ben. His mother, Joyce, has devoted her life to learning the Bible and assumes that her daughter Sophie is still praying on a regular basis. Joyce asks Sophie to choose something to read as a eulogy but Sophie is finding greater resonance with the works of Hemingway rather than Holy Scriptures. Adam feels that his mother is still upset about his sexuality and tries to find fault with every statement and action. In the meanwhile Ben tries to smooth over the cracks and see the good in the people he meets. Ben’s calmness is in direct contrast to the angry egocentricity shown by Adam.
Philip Bradley directs this empathetic play in which love and kinship is put to the test. Robin Tudge plays the frequently forthright Adam with as much passion as Penny Lamport plays his grieving mother. Though there are themes of Christian faith, this play runs deeper to the core of emotional ties that make up family life.
Jake Wilson-Craw comes across as a devoted husband whilst being affectionate to Adam’s greater family. He speaks as he finds and that warmth helps make this such a captivating story to watch.
Siblings don’t always get on like a house on fire and Sara Jo Harrison’s portrayal of Adam’s sister Sophie captures the apparent contradiction of feelings for, and fury with, her brother. The illusion of fair treatment between siblings is one of the many points that Adam wants to raise with his supposedly more popular sister. She in turn wants to share their Father’s possessions found in a cardboard box but in doing so she may open up old wounds.
There is a lot to like in this production. The simple set doesn’t get in the way of flow of the story. The complexities of real relationships makes the characterisation believable without overloading the audience with too much exposition. Each solid performance by the talented cast exudes both the loyalty and resentment that can come in a loving relationship. This is a compelling production that should see the writer propel into further great projects.
This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR (www.jowheretogo.com). Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook www.facebook.com/Jowheretogo
Director: Philip Bradley
Adam Robin Tudge
Ben Jake Wilson Craw
Sophie Sara-Jo Harrison
Joyce Penny Lamport
In My Father’s House by Patrick Robertson
Date: Tuesday 28 October – Saturday 1 November 2014
Venue: The Studio Upstairs, The People’s Theatre, Stephenson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5QF
Tickets: £13.50 (Concessions £11)
Box Office: 0191 265 5020