Family dynamics featured strongly in Wick Theatre Company’s latest production, staged at the Barn Theatre in Southwick last week.
Amy’s View by Sir David Hare, a former Lancing College student, was also quite political, though perhaps had more influence when it was first staged in the late 1990s.
Despite having a father who worked for a Lloyd’s broker, I still had to look up Lloyd’s Names to find out more about unlimited liability and the asbestos scandal that affected them.
Knowledge of this was pretty important to understand the character Esme Allen, a West End star played by Sarah London who happily accepted the cheques from Lloyd’s in the good years but lost everything when disaster struck.
Making her debut for the Wick, Sarah played the part superbly, often appearing to be guided by others but actually trying to control people, especially her daughter Amy, played by Anna Steddon.
Anna, too, gave an outstanding performance and these two ladies kept the pace perfectly in their long duologue, demonstrating the tensions and frustrations of a family argument but never shouting, which would have spoiled the effect.
Anita Shipton, as Esme’s mother-in-law Evelyn, had a different role to play. Her comic one-liners in Act One were subtle and she did really well to portray the changes when Evelyn became affected by dementia later in the play.
There were good performances from the men, too, with Dan Dryer as Amy’s husband Dominic, David Peaty as Esme’s neighbour Frank and Maurice Humphrys, who came in for the last act as Esme’s co-star Toby Cole.
Dominic starts the play as an aspiring filmmaker and does not have much time for Esme’s beloved live drama. Things shift as the play develops and he becomes very successful, making for a poignant final act, where Dan allowed us to believe he was sincere in his attempt to make amends with Esme.
David remained amiable and easygoing even when it became apparent Frank was the one in control of Esme’s investments.
The play spans 16 years and the changing relationships were keenly observed, however there were no real visible signs of aging, which may have helped illustrate the passing of time.
We went away with a lot to talk about as we explored the themes, which is testament to the excellence of the performances.
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