Writer: Sam Brady
Director: Hannah Banister
Reviewer: Sam Lowe
This one-man play is a truthful and realistic depiction of a father and son story in the 21st century. Warm-hearted humour can be found in the differences and similarities between the old and young generation. Ian’s dad is diagnosed with dementia. Ian makes the decision to help his father fulfill his long term dream of restoring a classic car, asking for his son’s help in the process. While transforming the car back to its former glory and planning an ambitious road trip, the three men discover that assembling together fragments of the past can drive them to unexpected places.
The homely and intimate set design, as designed by Lucy Fowler, consists of only a few pieces of furniture. The limited set appears to be symbolic of Ian’s dad and his rapidly declining memory. The two chairs and a table are utilised in playful and creative ways, when communicating the narrative. However, as the tree and bookshelf are not really acknowledged or used, does it need to be included in the set?
Sam Brady is a personable performer, guiding the audience through the narrative with his warm and gentle stage presence. Switching from one character to the next with ease, his characterisations are layered with nuances and identifiable quirks. Brady possesses a natural ability to play comedy well.
Attention to detail is very apparent in the writing of the play. The relationships between all the characters are very well established. What resonates well with the audience is the Northern and down to Earth humour, and some jokes are effectively poignant. The balance between humour and drama is well judged. Although, the scenes are not broken up that much and so one section flows into another, which means the audience is not given much time to catch up and process the narrative, consequently the play occasionally feels rushed. The transition from breaking the fourth wall to falling back into the world of the play and vice versa is not differentiated enough. Therefore, the performance is not always stylistically precise. Paul Jefferson’s sound design is a lovely addition to the production, where a snippet of soundtrack evokes another memory from the past.
There are a tiny handful of visual motifs which play a powerful component part in the production. The tableau of Ian’s dad in a paralysing state of confusion and panic is particularly potent. There is a sudden realisation of the loneliness and isolation he must be feeling. With this play, it’s not just about the many ways you can say “I love you”, but it’s about the numerous ways you can show someone you love them. It is a heart-warming story.
Reviewed on: Friday 2nd February 2018 | Image: Contributed