The Theatreguide.London Review
Bush Theatre Summer 2014
Robin Soans' play is an ironic exposé that is not nearly as surprising and shocking as he would wish. But it is the occasion for some excellent acting, and worth seeing for that.
Soans' characters are members of an Afro-Caribbean family living in London and Barbados. Father and eldest son are preachers in a strict Pentecostal church, so strict that another son has been banished for being homosexual and a third is just barely acknowledged as a result of marrying a divorced woman.
Things come to a head at mother's funeral, when it is the married semi-outcast who asserts that his religiosity is as valid as his father and brother's.
Four years later, back in London, the two now-rival-preacher brothers and their wives continue their war while it is only the gay apostate who visits, cares for and is ultimately reconciled with his dying father.
The irony that those most vocal in asserting their holiness can be small-minded and small-souled as people has the potential for drama in it, but it is not particularly newsworthy in itself, and Soans makes the error of being satisfied with just pointing it out rather than building much on it.
Had any of the characters really recognised anything about themselves, or undergone a crisis of faith, or been changed in any way, there would be more of a play here, but the closest we get is the father's appreciation of his once banished son and one wife's acknowledgement that there's not much love in the business partnership that is her marriage.
It doesn't help that some of the characters have been conceived by the playwright and shaped by director Madani Younis as near-cartoons, but among the hard-working cast Leo Wringer as the father, Clint Dyer as the loving son and Frances Ashman as the wife who comes closest to a moment of self-discovery give warm, human performances that hold your sympathy.
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