Park Theatre, London – until 1 September 2018
Guest reviewer: Jon Moss
Grief works in mysterious ways. How do you cope with loss? With open-ended grief where there has been no closure? Arguably, a missing person has a greater capacity to destroy than the finality of a corpse. This is what Tom (Adam Morris) and Gill (Tracey Wilkinson) are facing together. Until the different ways in which they try to cope threatens to tear them apart.
How do you deal with domestic abuse and its scars, both physical and psychological? How do you get out of a situation which brings you down more and more each passing day? This is what Leah (Abigail Hood) is facing in an abusive relationship with Mark (Kevin Tomlinson).
What happens when both scenarios collide? How do you stop yourself when you’re already caught in a downward spiral? Hood has written a play which explores just this through the unlikely relationship which develops between the grieving Tom and Leah, the non-sexual escort he hires to keep the memory of his daughter alive.
A pared down production in the Park 90 studio space at the remarkable Park Theatre – the kind of theatre everyone should have in their neighbourhood –Spiral is a play which delves into issues of pain and suffering, the ease with which trust can be broken, and the difficulty, or even impossibility, of building it up again.
With four well-cast actors, and an equal number of multi-purpose blocks on a pretty bare stage (apart from a bridge-like structure at the back of the space), Spiral gets you thinking about these issues.
And yet, despite the darkness inherent in its themes of loss and of abuse, Hood (who plays one of the main characters) has written a piece which manages to entertain – something to be commended in new writers who often find it all too easy to preach or rant – and the directors, Glen Walford and Kevin Tomlinson as well as the designer Nomi Everall, make effective use of the studio space at the Park Theatre.
Spiral is a serious piece of writing which works well in a tight space with bare resources.
Spiral is on at the Park 90 until 1 September https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/spiral Tickets from £16.50