New play The Fall, by Drew Hewitt, forms part of the triple bill of readings staged at the Riverside Studios and now available via on-demand streaming.
“Janet and Liam are happily married until she stops talking to him. And everybody else. In an attempt to diagnose her loss of speech she begins seeing a psychiatrist who starts to probe at a secret buried in the depths of Janet’s psyche, the revelation of which has profound and lasting implications not just for her but the entire family.”
Alex Kingston, Adrian Lukis, Sara Stewart and Tyger Drew-Honey make up the cast under the direction of Charlotte Peters. It’s a strong piece focusing on mature relationships and psychological subterfuge.
The Fall is a quirky piece which plays with expectations and assumptions. As Stewart’s performance is mime/mute at times, her character’s isolation and boredom with three decades of marriage feels sharp-edged.
When the couple seek help from a psychologist following an issue around communication while they were performing on stage, matters say more about them than their craft.
This is a complex play which looks at how we inhabit the roles life gives us. Lukis’ boorish husband doesn’t quite get what has changed in his life, and it is hard to gain sympathy for him as his wife freezes him out.
I felt this play reading was just a little overlong, while underusing the role of Tim, the son (Drew-Honey). The scenes between Kingston’s therapist and Stewart are taut and strong, but sometimes fail to move the plot along, and the final reveal felt forced.
Better is the byplay between Stewart and Lukis, whose relationship feels real as they tolerate each other’s habits and the hesitant knock on the door which signals routine intimacy.