Monday, 27 March 2017

“Monarch” by Tom Heath
Nottingham New Theatre
The four characters in this play all have some kind of trauma in the past which lingers. Rachel has had a breakdown, Lewis is politically radical, Zoe is a budding poet and Arthur really wants to be a good dad to Zoe.
They’re all not directly connected to start with but by the end they all become involved in each other’s lives in one way or another without knowing it.
The play is a collection of monologues and poems and it’s through these that we learn about the four’s pasts, their struggles and what they want from their futures.
The writing in this play is particularly strong as well as being incredibly descriptive. It paints pictures, and while the four actors don;t have to act out everything that they describe , they help create those images from the pen to your mind with incredible emotion
Written and directed by Tom Heath, he's created a powerful and emotive piece of theatre. Assisted by four incredibly strong actors this play springs to life. The four separate stories all collect at the end, linking the four to just the one place.
Rachel (Maddy Strauss) for me headed this cast of equals for emotions. Her whole look and face made you want to give her a hug. By the end you felt so emotionally drained from her plight, but then there was little upturn which made you feel that there was hope around the corner for Rachel. Now whether a tear stick (something used by actors to instigate tears) was used, I didn't see, but tears I'm sure I spotted. I am sure that Maddy was as drained as we were by the end.
Lewis (David Mason) was another emotionally charged character, but this time the emotion was anger and violence, steeped in regret and being unsure of his actions. His monologue of violence painted a vivid picture in your head. Again by the end though you felt for him for the reason why he was in the location of the others. (No spoilers from me!)
Zoe (Laura Wolcyzk) is the young girl who held her anger inside, so it seems, not knowing how to talk to her father, Arthur about the loss of her mother and his wife. Communication is never easy between a parent and the child but when there is loss involved, it is even harder to show those feelings, which Zoe kept inside. Her going away to University wasn't all that she had expected either which added another trauma to her young life.
Arthur (Jack Ellis) is Zoe's dad and he tries to do what he thinks is right for Zoe, but what a father sometimes thinks is right for his child, may not be what the child sees as being what she wants from her father. As a father, this character got me thinking of past decisions I've thought were right for my kids and I can see Arthur's well meaning. This role especially shows Tom's mature writing skills as he is writing from a place that he, I'm sure, has not had first hand experience of, being a father and making parental decisions. How apt though are Tom's observations.
I came away from this piece of theatre with many thoughts in my head about all four characters and can empathise with all four. The blend of brilliant, emotional acting and an amazingly well written script really gives you plenty to mull over long after the play has ended.
An interesting set design by Joe Strickland, who is also the Technical Director, and some clever lighting, designed by Darcey Graham, makes for an interesting visual experience.
Producer for this was Zoe Smith, assisted by Tenielle Chua.
"Monarch" is at the Nottingham New Theatre until Tuesday 28 March

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