Mother Adam

5
Another great night of theatre in Jermyn Street
By Gene - 11th May 2012

Mother Adam at Jermyn Street TheatreCharles Dyer's Mother Adam, part of his "Lonely Trilogy", has not been seen in a significant production since 1973 but then it is one of Gene David Kirk's missions to revive powerful 'overlooked' plays. This is certainly a powerful play but one that needs a very careful and controlled hand on the tiller if it is not to completely bemuse its audience and leave its cast needing psychiatric support!

Mother Adam is the story of a mother and son, the mother an ex-missionary with severe arthritis and the son her carer, a slowly failing museum worker and a frustrated middle-aged man. They live in an attic and in a fantasy world, her only view of the real world is through a window via an angled mirror but her son conjures up events, people and even new language to populate and animate their chaotic world. 

It is a relationship of greate commitment but one with too many secrets and too little love to fulfill either. Adam is frustrated by the secrets of his mother's memory chest, by his inability to get her to say she loves him or to confess who his father was and by his relationship with the unseen, possibly fictitious and apparently frigid, piano teacher Bettya.

Cherry Truluck's stage design and Phil Hewitt's lighting and particulary sound, really bring this dingy world to life ... porridge is cooked on stage in real time, tea is made with water boiled on a small gas ring, toenails are cut, everything is real and utterly credible. 

Linda Marlowe (mother) and Jasper Britton (Adam) have really nailed both their individual characters but also the realtionship between them. We are voyeurs on this secret struggle in a lost attic. No attempt is made, in either script or performance, to make us feel included, we must work to understand the vocabulary and their relationship but boy is it worth it! This is a funny, engaging, moving and ultimately sad piece, more a slice of their lives than a full story or explanation. For Jasper Britton in particular this is a real tour de force, his journies within the play are legion and he carries them off beautifully - indeed he has been nominated for a OFFIE Award. 

Gene David Kirk has brought back a play which has real relevance today and which is powerful, moving and slightly strange. His production exploits all of that without letting it become unbelievable or wierd - a tightrope he was walked here, and in other recent productions, with assured confidence.

A great night of theatre well worth the trip ...


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