Writer: Edward Bond
Director: Sarah Van Parys
Reviewer: John Roberts
As part of the Everyman’s two year young directors scheme, graduating director Sarah Van Parys brings Edward Bond’s grim look to the future to the Everyman. Chair is like watching a modern day nightmare, not only is Bond’s vision bleak, but this “snapshot” of the future could quite easily become a brutal dystopian reality.
Billy is no ordinary adult, saved from certain death by a young female, he was brought up in her care, now at 26 in her flat and surrounded by the many childlike drawings he has created, the truth about who he is and why he behaves the way he does comes into focus with unsettling consequences for both parties.
Alice played by Lyndsay Fielding, who is arguably a lot younger than the character should be, pulls of a detailed performance, full of pain and anguish. Her breakdown from the realization of what she has been a part of is raw and powerful. Lewis Marsh manages to capture Billy’s immaturity perfectly, never falling into caricature – it’s nuanced and beautifully balanced and plays perfectly alongside Fielding’s Alice. Great support is lent from Sean Croke as an overbearing Soldier, while Mair Terry’s grey and monotonous Welfare Officer juxtaposes brilliantly with the rest of the cast.
Van Parys directs with confidence and assurance, and although at times it lacks some finesse and attention to detail especially in the more heavy and tense moments, the piece plays out with pace and shows Van Parys to be a director to watch. She has some great ideas and on the whole they pay off, the biggest stumbling block is perhaps her decision to play the piece end on, the EV1 Studio space has been seated end on along its rather long side, and this causes some sight line issues and also actors crashing into curtains and running out of space, a little more creativity and this could have been easily resolved – the space is crying to be used in the traverse and the intimacy that that formation would give, would have really benefited the piece.
Christina Eddowes’ excellent lighting design brings plenty of atmosphere to the piece and rounds off this accomplished piece of theatre and showcases the clear talent than Van Parys has and will develop over the coming years.
Runs until Saturday 11th July 2015