Doubting Thomas

4
Sun, 14th Aug 16
The inspirational true story of Thomas McCrudden

Doubting ThomasRaw, faltering, stilted and lacking in theatrical smoothness this is a supremely powerful story. The story of a violent (extremely violent) man who managed to change, managed to turn his life around and become someone capable of helping others and of taking responsibility for his past actions. As far as I could tell, most, if not all, the performers were actually reformed prisoners.

If you require your theatre to be polished, this is not for you. If you don't like theatre to move you, this is not for you. In fact this is not for the feint hearted, Thomas tells his own story and while he has a deeply impressive stage presence he has not learned much of the actors craft of faking violence - the slaps are real, the staged violence seems a lot less staged than it should be and when he says that those who watch violence are partaking in violence you feel he is talking directly to you.

At the end, we applauded the performers, the performers applauded the audience, there was an huge release of emotion and we all felt we'd shared something - Thomas cried. We saw him later outside and I felt I had to go and thank him for the honesty, and bravery, of his performance. He admitted he cried each time but always woke the next day feeling refreshed and reborn. At the end of the play he asks that we slow down, take the time to look, not to see his outside but to see the change, which is inside, to look into his eyes and see that change. I did and if even half what he confessed was true then the change has been profound. If nothing else, the production will make me look a little differently at people I have always classed as the "them" to my "us".

I can't say you'd "enjoy" this - but Thomas and his colleagues deserve your attention. As he says, if we don't shine a light on people like him when they are young then they will follow others on dark paths ...

Theatre is a powerful drug, and I think, in Thomas, it may have claimed a new addict.


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