Tribes at New Theatre

Tribes at the Nottingham New Theatre is an excellent way to procrastinate from revision and essays this week.


The play centres on a dysfunctional family who struggle to cope with change.

The two oldest children are still stuck at home, and the youngest, Billy, has just returned from university and is deaf.

When Billy meets and falls in love with Sylvia, who is losing her hearing, he begins to engage more with the deaf community which his family (a self-sufficient ‘empire’) resent.

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A phenomenal first half followed by a slightly less effective second

The staging was extremely interesting with a screen translating the sign language used in the play for the audience’s benefit.  However, the second half it was used to add to what was happening on stage by asking questions and providing additional notes, which was rather unnecessary and distracting.

The second half of the play in general was less effective than the phenomenal first half.

Whereas the first act found strength in the comedic timing of the ensemble drawing laughter out of every possible moment, the second was more emotional. The emotion was at times extremely powerful, in particular the scene where Billy signs his anger to his family.

However, the high emotions were relentless and there was no time to draw a breath between them.

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Well worth the revision break

The acting was impeccable and the cast did a remarkable job as a convincing family unit.

A special mention must be made of James Roscow as Billy whose performance of the deaf character never verged into the realm of camp.

All in all an uplifting two hours away from work well worth taking a break for, but the first half definitely wowed more than the second.