Hope Theatre, London – until 7 December 2019
What is it? In THREAD by Freya Alderson, the famous Gibson sisters must decide what to do when their father with severe dementia is accused of sexually assaulting a list of women, decades after the incidents happened.
THREAD is The XV Theatre Company’s second collaboration with Alderson. What Is It About? Peter Gibson (Eric Carte), a kind, reflective man, grasping for his old memories as a director at the top of his game. As he monologues, his youngest daughter, Margot (Maya-Nika Bewley) drifts in, and he retreats back into his ailing mind. She takes him to bed and when she returns, the party begins. Then the oldest Gibson sister, Vivian (Christina Balmer) bursts in with long-time friend and manager, Ian Semenya (Christopher Jenner-Cole).
After some alcohol and cocaine, Vivian and Ian tell Margot that Peter has been accused of sexually assaulting a famous female actor, and this is where the play explodes. For the next hour and 40 minutes or so, we learn that everyone is hiding something. Margot has been abusing drugs and alcohol, Vivian has been in love with Ian for years, Ian has given opportunities to young aspiring female actors in exchange for sexual favours, and Peter isn’t as kind and innocent as he appears. As secrets are revealed, everyone has to decide where they stand on the #MeToo Movement.
How Did It Make Me Feel? I really enjoyed THREAD. I was apprehensive about seeing a show centred on rich white elites, but the piece pulled me in. Although the characters are not particularly relatable, they are all very complex and interesting. Alderson’s writing is fantastic and it is clear she knows exactly what she is doing.
With the #MeToo Movement and dementia being so relevant to society at the moment, it is lovely to see how Alderson effortlessly blended the two. We go back and forth between sympathising with Peter who needs assistance using the bathroom and who can’t even recognise his own daughters, to suspecting him and later, hating him for being the true villain of the story.
The most exciting part of THREAD is the end. I love the way everything came together and how Vivian, who was unwaveringly loyal to her father, had to face the painful and disgusting truth about the man she loves so much. Anything Else? There are some slight issues with pacing, with the Gibson sisters often yelling at each other and getting nowhere. The piece would have been slightly more concise had these moments been cut down, however, the play is solid as is and I would recommend it. Rebecca x THREAD is playing at The Hope Theatre until 7 December 2019. If you like our reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy any of us a virtual coffee here!