8 March 2019

Very impressed by There is a Field at Theatre503

I see everything that I can at Theatre503 for one simple reason, the programme there is consistently fresh, though-provoking and entertaining. There is a Field was all of these.

Some things do change at Theatre503 however and this time I had to content with the new booking system that introduced allocated seating. The first result of this was that I missed my usual seat in the middle of the front-row and had to settle for seat B6 instead. That was a fair result but I will have to try and get more organised.

No change on the pricing though and my seat was a bargain at £12 (over 60s).

The poster gives a big clue as to some of the themes of There is a Field with a white man dressed as a convert to Islam and a funeral. Other elements to the story were the relationships between two very different brothers, two long-term friends and two volatile lovers, the financial stress of a young family, a drug addiction and the thieving that fed it, poetry and football. There was a lot going on and that kept the story interesting and unpredictable.

The main characters in the story were an East Londoner who had converted to Islam, his criminal brother, his recently bereaved mother, his best friend and his friends pregnant wife. The five people all knew each other well and the many one-to-one relationships between them were complex and extreme. There was a lot of love in the play and a fair amount of violence too.

Of course you cannot have good characters without good actors and everybody did an excellent job here. There were only five of them so I have the luxury of being able to name them all; Sam Frenchum (convert), Archie Backhouse (friend), Roseanna Frascona (friend's wife), Sarah Finigan (mother) and Fabrizio Santino (brother). Of these the two characters/actors that had the most impact on me were Sarah Finigan's East-end mother who calmly knew how to fix things and Fabrizio Santino's dodgy and violent brother. It was the care put into every shoulder-shrug and jacket adjustment that made Fabrizio Santino's performance the most compelling.

I almost forgot to mention that there were quite a few chuckles along the way too - nothing contrived just the natural banter between people who know each other well.

I was very impressed by There is a Field because of the breadth of interesting and difficult topics covered and the depth that they were covered through rich characters. It was an entertaining and satisfying feast of theatre.

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