That Face at New Theatre

NNT’s pre-Easter production is unafraid to tackle the uncomfortable.


Polly Stenham’s That Face, a directorial and producing debut for Jack Revell and Krishanthi Jeyakumar at New Theatre, shamelessly explores the twisted and troubled under-layers of the London middle-class.

With its opening scenes of schoolgirl torture to the toxic mother-son relationship of Martha (Kati Hall) and Henry (Ben Maries), this production will lure you into its sinister world.

Hall’s portrayal of the substance-abusive and manipulative Martha is played with touches of sly irony, and it is her performance that fuels much of the play’s black humour.

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Luring you into a sinister world

We are presented with a family past the point of rupture, and it is the children that must cope with these ruins – Harriet Lowe (Mia) and Maries give dynamic performances of desperate teens lost and hopeless without solid parenting.

Another highlight is Charlotte Van Rhee’s Izzy, a boarding school girl with torturous tendencies, executed with just the right mix of cheeky sass and menacing edge.

This production is at times let down by the use of space. The large and impressive bedroom, which does hold most of the play’s action, spills into other scene locations; it becomes difficult to distinguish shifts in location as the boundaries between settings become blurred.

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A bold and brash climax

Nonetheless, the final scene is a bold and brash climax, presenting the dissolution of a family struggling to let go of the crisis that has burdened them.

The scene’s emotive impact is built by the gutsy performances given by the cast members and the perfect music choice to reflect its fraught mood. Maries’s portrayal of heartbreak and twisted loyalty particularly shines through.

This production boasts of fearlessness, honesty and a lack of inhibition.

You will go home mystified, and maybe a little bit disturbed, by this sinister world.