30 September 2016

Burning Bridges at Theatre503 was crisp and entertaining


Theatre503 was on such good form, and had been for a couple of years that I made a concerted effort to see all of their main shows (missing only a few of the one night only things), the only theatre that I could say that for. So I was always going to see Burning Bridges.

It helped that one of the subjects it covered was living with people on the autistic spectrum, which had been an interest of mine since the time when I was a governor at a school with a small unit for ASD children. I will confess that it also helped that it was written by Amy Shindler who is better known to many as Brenda Tucker in The Archers.

The basic premise of the story was a young American woman, Sarah, on the autistic spectrum who had been living in an institution in the USA and who had come to visit her older sister, Kate, who lived with her husband, Dan, in London.

That visit became a stay and led to several tensions between the trio; Sarah blamed Kate for having her institutionalised, Kate blamed Dan for taking a job she should have had at work, Dan blamed Sarah for taking his wife's attention. And there was more going on than that.

I felt that the play started a little uncomfortably with some people in the audience laughing at the antics of Sarah as she was meticulous over things like the way she drank her coke. That went quickly though as the story built in complexity and seriousness and took all of our attention.

As the three people's lives changed we learned more about their past to and more about the bridges that they had burned and would burn. Autism played a part in the story, a key part in relation to one incident, but it was not a play about autism, it was a play about decisions, assumptions and consequences. Those consequences were on the three people and the three actors were all excellent with Rae Brogan catching my eye the most because Sarah was at the centre of the action and a very distinctive character. She was also, as she herself said early on, quite hot.

Burning Bridges was crisp and entertaining. It packed a lot of plot in without it getting too squashed and played an emotional merry-go-round as the three relationships evolved in response to changing circumstances. It was another good evening at a great theatre.

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