Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Drip’

Playwright Tom Wells has written two of my favourite plays of the last 10 years, The Kitchen Sink & Jumpers for Goalposts, plus two other ‘miniature’ gems, Phil in Space & Drip. He specialises in warm, feel-good, funny stories with ordinary but well developed characters, anchored in communities he knows very well. This new work trades uproarious humour for gentle poignancy. It’s set near a bird sanctuary on the Yorkshire coast over several years. The four characters are linked by a number of things, notably grief and loss.

Lauren works in a cafe near the bird sanctuary. She’s lost her mum, whose best friend Angie runs the cafe. Her widowed dad Dennis is a frequent visitor. He’s jealous of Neil, who runs the bird sanctuary, for no obvious reason. Lauren has moved out of home and Dennis has put her room on Airbnb. His first tenant is Ed from Birmingham, who’s come for an interview at the bird sanctuary. He’s lost his mum too. It’s the end of the season and the cafe is closing to make way for a new one at the Discovery Centre.

We move forward to future seasons, with Ed now employed at the bird sanctuary and the cafe inexplicably still open. Ed & Lauren become an item, then Lauren becomes pregnant. We learn of Angie’s loss and realise they are all united in grief. Dennis clearly has feelings for Angie but is unable to do anything about them. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but in 90 minutes Wells’ creates characters you can’t help liking and caring about. It oozes authenticity and has bucketloads of charm, underpinned by the sadness that pervades the characters’ grief. Director Tessa Walker adds a Shakespeare style music and dance coda which provides an uplifting ending.

All four performances are beautifully drawn. Jessica Jolleys’ Lauren has a no-nonsense attitude and a steely independence about her. Sam Newton gives Ed a combination of naivety and nerdiness, socially clumsy. With Dennis it’s what he doesn’t say that matters and Matt Sutton’s performance is perfectly understated. Jennifer Daley invests Angie with a gentleness and the sadness of someone who has never, and never will, fully recover from her loss. Bob Bailey’s uber realistic design has the audience sitting on two sides, peering into the café as if from outside its windows, as voyeurs.

A lovely play that deserves to be seen by so many more than the 30 or so Hampstead Downstairs can accommodate socially distanced.

Read Full Post »