The Vaults, London – until 11 March 2018
Family. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Never is this truer than when a family member passes away. RedBellyBlack Theatre’s Ok Bye focus on three siblings and their respective reactions to their mother’s fall… and her subsequent funeral. Running parallel to this thread are verbatim interviews regarding saying ‘goodbye’. Sometimes they refer to the end of a relationship or the death of a loved one. On other occasions they involve the end of a stage in life and a new outlook.
Directed by Vicki Baron, Ok Bye incorporates choreographed physical movement to non-verbally convey the ‘love/hate’ relationship of the siblings. Kate Goodfellow plays April, the eldest and it falls upon her to care for their mother and deal with the funeral arrangements.
As the middle sibling, Pete (Sam Cornforth) is fairly happy in his life and has a responsible job. Younger brother Ollie (Oscar Scott-White) is content, now that he’s pursuing what he loves – photography. However, it’s taken a long time to get to this awareness and has acquired something of a reputation for being flaky.
While the show deals with weighty subject matter, humour is present at various junctures such as the siblings’ first meal together, highlighting what they really think versus what they say. Of course, with family in close proximity over an extended period of time, good behaviour is short-lived and candidness to a fault resurfaces. Grievances that were suppressed are voiced and family always have a way of knowing one’s sore points…
The verbatim interviews (which are mimed to expressively by the actors) complement the siblings’ narrative and in some ways reiterate what’s taking place on stage.
With its unique approach to addressing stressful, life-changing events, Ok Bye stands apart from ‘conventional’ theatre, balancing mature content with a sense of fun.