A silver lining

So I headed out, excited, to see Wet Weather and arrived only to discover the run had been pulled, which was rather a shame. Optimistically then we headed round to The Trafalgar Studios where only a few weeks back we had enjoyed Fever Chart, and were delighted to get a couple of late tickets for ‘Jesus Hopped the A Train’ which was produced by the company Synergy. Synergy (as you’ll see from their website) works with prisoners and ex offenders from some of our prisons, as it happens to be honest this made no impact on the piece – there was no false praise given ‘because’ they were ex offenders, the piece stood on it’s own two legs without any need for a ‘sympathy vote’

The play is a hard hitting piece about some prisoners and their wardens and a lawyer who acts for one of them. I was quite blown away to be honest and loved the piece – both in the writing but also the direction and the performances from the cast.

The dialogue is very fast paced but the cast coped extremely well with a marathon of a script, with great accents and crisp and clear deliveries. Ricky Copp as the sympathetic warden provided a heartfelt rendition of a monologue in act ii and his appearance in act 1 helped set the scene solidly. This was contrasted by Dominic Taylor as the more hardline warden. In a performance that reminded me of Tommy Lee Jones in the fugitive I found Taylor to be a believable ‘bad guy’ with a part hard to pull off without being a bit of a stereotype, he managed to elicit the hatred from the audience that I am sure he was looking for! In the role of the lawyer Denise Gough excelled. It’s not an easy part, slightly apart from the others, and seperated by sex, but it was a thoroughly thought out and hard hitting delivery.

The two prisoners were incredibly well cast and performed. Their contrast was extreme – with the nervous ticks and mannerisms of Angel Cruz (Theo Jones) against the confident, self assured physicality of Lucius (Ricky Fearon) was a joy to watch. Angel was a believable man out of his depth and I found his portayal thoroughly believable. Fearon delivered the poetry of the lines with gusto and a beautiful musicality – the religious zeal coming through with an amazing passion.

The set’s wire wall cutting the stage in two was both evocative and practical creating a literal barrier to work around, but also something to hold and interact with – to rail against, to crash into and to hang onto, very effective.

The whole play was helped by the intimite atmosphere of the studio – the feeling that we were sharing the space was quite powerful. It was also nice to feel part of such a diverse audience that was both multi-cultural and a variety of ages and anything that can be done to encourage this should be applauded.

The play has received some exceptional reviews, and it deserves them.

Published in: on April 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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