Royal Court Theatre, London
FROM the moment the lights go up to reveal a set constructed almost entirely of mud, the word that springs to mind is bleak and that adjective pretty much sums up Simon Longman’s play, directed by Vicky Featherstone.
In it, two impoverished shepherds, sisters Becky and Anna (Ria Zmitrowicz and Rochenda Sandall), are eking out a living in a remote place when they come across Guy (Alec Secareanu), a young man from an unspecified country, on their land.
What his background is, or how he came to be there, is never satisfactorily explained but the sisters invite him to stay with them to help with the farm.
As the play progresses, the characters never come across as people that you can believe in and there is little in the way of narrative or plot development.
In the second part, we are taken back a few years to a time when the sisters are coping with their elderly grandfather who is slowly losing his mind and their brother, who wants to get away from the farm but who is as trapped in the place as they are.
The concluding section takes up to where the second part left off and the time shifts are somewhat confusing.
It doesn't help matters that much of the action, taking place offstage, is described by the characters and the sense is often of actors delivering lines rather than of people having genuine conversations.
Gundog occasionally come to life but it soon falls back into a worn routine. What might have been a fascinating examination of how people manage to live in such bleak circumstances turns out to be a missed opportunity.
Runs until March 10, box office: royacourttheatre.com
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.