That Face

The night after August: Osage County, we saw That Face – a British drama about a disfunctional family with drugs, alcohol and incest and a lot of shouting.
Polly Stenham wrote this play at age 19, so she is definitely someone to watch for in future.
Sonia Smitts staggers and flounces around the stage as the Mother, who has descended into drug and alcohol fuelled madness. It is not clear if this is the result of her husband’s departure or if he left because of it. But, when he left, he abandoned his children to her care and avoided thinking about the consequences. The son has tried too hard to look after his mother; the daughter who is perhaps the one character who sees clearly, has cped by developing a skin of cynicism.
A couple of underlying themes here – bullying and the offical response to it; the ability of the rich to buy their way out of problems; and the responsibility for the first family, including the ex wife.
Seeing this the night after Osage County highlights the difference between the Amercian and British view of disfunctional families – the Americans hate each other; the British love each other but are desperate to get away.

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About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in Nightwoood 2009, Polly Stenham. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to That Face

  1. Keith says:

    Dysfunctional families again!This time the incest is a lot less comfortable and I think this production blew it by signalling it from the very begining – it loses the impact of the moment when the mother/son relationship goes from weird to creepy. I wasn't happy with Smits, as the mother, but I cannot make up my mind whether it was the actor or the role I had a problem with. The rest of the cast was uniformly excellent. Particular kudos to the actor who played the son – it seemed a difficult role to carry off, but he did.

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