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FREEFALL – New Wimbledon Studio, London.

freefallThree Streets Productions’ mission is to “serve as a platform for distinctive, unusual new playwrights,” and their recent run at the New Wimbledon Studio neatly fits this brief.  Consisting of two one act plays, the producers have cleverly combined the works of both Becky Prestwich and Matthew Bulgo into the collective term Freefall, anchoring both plays with their mutual theme of loss and mental trauma.

The Bear, The Owl and The Angel begins with a monologue from Kieran Knowles’ character, who is shortly revealed to be one of two estranged brothers, both of which experienced a traumatic incident as children. We learn, through some rather animated interactions between the two, that both have been deeply haunted by their past, setting them on very different paths in life and united years later by the passing of their mother.

With liberal use of Northern charm, Knowles’ provides some level of comic relief, despite a slightly stiff start. Once the dialogue between brothers Steven and Rob was in full flow, I was gripped; not only by anticipation but by the sheer sense of realism encapsulating the entire production. There’s something very relatable about the subject of two brothers, out of touch with each other’s lives, packing away their dead mother’s things and desperately trying to reconnect.  The ending is unsatisfactory giving no real resolution to the relationship between these two men, but we are given beautiful, small glimpses of their childish bond, giggling together as they stumble across hidden sex toys, or chiding one another for getting fat.

Dealing more intensely with the mental trauma resulting from loss of a loved one is Lacuna, the second act play. Bulgo uses the doctor-patient set-up of ‘David’ and ‘Kate’ to demonstrate the mind of somebody affected by a death, and the knock-on effects it has for the people around them. With a bit more rehearsal, this play could be really something great.  ‘Kate’ allows the complex dialogue to roll off her tongue swiftly and easily, a stream of conscious so fast-paced that at times you can’t keep up with her. Far from a criticism, this skill really captures our minds, our hearts go out to her as we understand her confusion.

A thought-provoking two hours which reminds us that we all perhaps have a tendency to ‘freefall’ when life gets tough.

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Reviewed 10/07/13

By Caroline Cronin

10th – 13th July 2013
New Wimbledon Studio, London, SW19. 

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