Writer: Gerry Linford
Director: Bob Eaton
Reviewer: John Roberts
Following on from his critically acclaimed debut play The Miracle of Great Homer Street last summer, writer Gerry Linford returns to the Court with his follow up play of love, loss and family relationships that remind us that there really is no place like home.
Loosely based on The Wizard of Oz, Yellow Breck Road follows the reclusive anxiety driven teenager Dot and her ever-so-slightly dysfunctional family as they navigate their way through troubled times, often being reminded that all it takes to go through life successfully is a little bit of courage, a little bit of brain and plenty of heart. And Yellow Breck Road is filled with plenty of heart, so much that this is arguably one of the most touching and emotionally impactful plays staged at the court in recent years. Yes, it’s also full of hilarious one-liners, plenty of toilet humour – mainly courtesy of Eithne Brown’s foul-mouthed naughty nana Nora and extravagant mishaps that seem to almost become a must-have ingredient in any Royal Court production.
Director Bob Eaton has steered a swift course with Yellow Breck Road, coming in at 2hours including the interval, the show never outstays its welcome, instead, it packs a lot in and gives the six-strong cast plenty to get their teeth into. Gemma Brodrick fresh off the inaugural tour of Cilla, takes on the role of heroine Dot with delightful confidence and plenty of punch, even managing to deliver knock-out lines from behind a mobile phone, that is seemingly attached permanently to her. Jake Abraham as Barry, the scally uncle who likes to “help around the house” is a hoot and shows a more sensitive side than usually seen, especially in the second act. Jamie Greer as the horrendously vile Harry gives the play its overshadowing “baddie”, while Lynn Francis and Paul Duckworth equally delight as long-term husband and wife Carol and Billy – their scene at the top of act two when playing children is just a riot.
But it’s not just the script and the cast that are firing on all cylinders, Olivia du Monceau’s revolving set of a mid-terraced house with a bright moon looming and a spectacular lunar landscape is a real show stopper.
Yellow Breck Road has the hallmarks of a classic Royal Court production, but it also proves that you don’t need totally over-the-top characterisations in order to make people laugh. One hopes this isn’t the end for this intergalactic trip to the heart, and that it finds a home in plenty more theatre in the not so distant future.
Runs until 2 March 2019 | Image: Activate Digital.