New Theatre: Buried Child
This week the New Theatre showcases their latest treat, Sam Shephard’s Buried Child.
As the play begins, the smell of cigarette smoke and the drumming of rain fill the stage, contributing towards a bleakly effective atmosphere. For the next two-hours we are about to witness a broken family continuously avoid an old, dark secret that haunts each character.
Shephard’s play is thematically concerned with the disenchantment with the American Dream in twentieth-century USA and the destruction of traditional family values.
The array of flawed characters in this play challenge the idealistic image of the perfect family as conceived by the mythical American Dream. Dodge (Sebastian Frend) is a failed father–figure, whilst Halie’s (Lucy Bromilow) image as a devoted mother is compromised by her faults which are revealed later in the play.
What this production has to boast is its absolutely superb cast: Bromilow is one of the most entertaining and watchable elements of the performance whilst Ben Maries’ portrayal of the emotionally vulnerable Tilden was incredibly endearing to witness.
Anna Stubbs’ performance carries the production and Frend plays the wretched Dodge with utter commitment, not least because he has to chain smoke for pretty much the entirety of the play.
The constant evasion from the family’s secrets successfully leaves the audience in a state of suspense for the duration of the performance. We become increasingly anxious to discover the real truth that disturbs these characters.
The fact that we can become so invested in the characters and the plot of the play is testament to the accomplishments of this production.
Buried Child is a must-see of the New Theatre’s in-house season.
Book tickets for Buried Child here, it runs until Saturday.