Posts Tagged ‘Tilly Tremayne’

This play starts well. We are in the home of North London kosher caterers on the eve of  the funeral of their son who has died fighting for Israel in Gaza. The Rabii calls to warn the family that he anticipates protestors – other Jews angry at the boy’s sisters’  involvement in the UN investigation of that very same conflict. The trouble is, playwright Ryan Craig then throws in the kitchen sink!

The play has its moments, but it is too contrived and therefore often implausible. We move from the set-up to soap opera to a serious political debate to melodrama. Along the way, we get business problems, relationship issues and a few too many patronising history lessons. The only unpredictable thing in the evening is the arrival of daughter Ruth’s boss Stephen  – though this is also somewhat implausible, it does provide an opportunity for a reasonably objective political debate. The best drawn characters are the sister and other brother, both played well by Susannah Wise and Alex Waldmann. The problem with the rest, particularly Henry Goodman’s father and Tilly Tremayne’s mother, is that they are stereotypes.

You’d think the staging in-the-round (you’re a fly on the wall of the living room with visible corridors leading to the rest of the house) would provide an intimacy and heighten your engagement with the story and its characters, but I’m afraid it doesn’t. I wasn’t in the slightest bit moved or emotionally engaged, even from the front row in its most heartfelt moments. I found the frequent Jewish words and references a rather clumsy way of engaging a largely Jewish audience whilst making the non-Jewish audience feel excluded.

Yet another disappointing new play at the National, I’m afraid.

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