When you have sex with someone it is not common to think of your father… but Nina Leeds declares to the audience in a proud fashion that she always thinks of her father when sleeping with men!
The premise of this production originally written by Eugene O’Neill and reworked by Simon Stone is a very raw play about the realities of life and how difficult it can be sometimes. Don’t expect a walk in the park with this stage play as it is a little confronting dealing with death, ideas of suicide, aborting unborn kids, loveless marriages and mental illness. A right royal ball… not!
Nina (Emily Barclay) has fallen for Sam (Toby Truslove) at her father’s wake and promptly marries him. Later on do we realise she actually loves Ned (Toby Schmitz) and this has come about as she doesn’t want to have Sam’s children as she is fearful that it will be the catalyst to send him into a mental illness that will result in suicide. Unbeknown to Sam, Nina falls pregnant to Ned and decides to leave Sam but Ned tell Sam that the child is his… Sam and Ned are friends!
Simon Stone has created and directed a piece of theatre that hits a nerve. It is raw and at times uncomfortable to watch because of its realism and level of truth. It’s presented in such a way that the performances do not distract from the dialogue and this is what is so confronting.
The set is stripped right back to bare essentials and almost resembles a photographic shoot with the plain white backdrop and Set Designer Robert Cousins does need special mention for this interesting look on the stage.
There is a reason why a majority of Eugene O’Neill’s family committed suicide and after watching such a tough production you can see why… he is one very morbid writer who can really challenge and force and audience, but in a good way.
Toby Truslove as Sam is a very sad individual and you can’t but help feel sorry for him as he reminds everyone of the boyfriend that you have to let go because you know it’s not quite right. Toby Schmitz as Ned is a cheeky sex driven individual, and you can see quite clearly why Nina has fallen for him the way she has! Emily Barclay as Nina is the type of girl that you believe is innocent, but know all too well that she isn’t… she thinks of her father when she is having sex!
Belvoir has really presented some hard hitting productions this year and hasn’t missed the mark with this one. Strange Interlude is a play that is raw and real and will challenge the audience. It’s dark and very gritty and that is what makes it all the more enjoyable to watch.
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