By Thornton Wilder, directed by Cheryl St. George
28th – 30th April 2016
An extract from the review by Crysse Morrison…..
Thornton Wilder’s 1938 classic Pulitzer-prize-winning play Our Town is set in a small town in New Hampshire just over a hundred years ago. No Trump-style politics then, just small town folks living their daily lives of births, marriages and deaths, the minutiae of trivial detail all woven together by the playwright to show not only the transience of life but also how “there’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.”
Deceptively innocent at first, this poignantly thought-provoking play makes big demands on all the actors, not only in terms of mastering the flat drawl and slow delivery a North-Eastern province at that time but also because Wilder wanted the action to be created through mime. Director, Cheryl St. George, is faithful to this specification, with help from Joan Calder, so it’s up to the audience to imagine the coffee cups, milk pails, newspapers, schoolbooks and balls bouncing awry.
It’s a difficult task to make the ordinary seem extraordinary, particularly when it’s mostly not there, and all the cast should be massively commended, especially Django Lewis-Clark and Georgina Littlewood for their key roles of youngsters who face life, marriage, and death together. Laurie Parnell takes the central role of ‘Stage Manager’ with the same superbly engaging manner as he did in the – not dissimilar – narrative voice in Under Milk Wood, also the story of everyday life in a tiny community. His role here is to constantly break the theatrical ‘fourth wall’, interrupting the action, summoning other contributors, asking for questions, and generally reminding us we are in a theatre and out of real time. And what is that thing we call real time anyway? ‘You know how it is, you’re 21 or 22 and whoosh, you’re 70’.