Theatre Review: The Barrier at the Park Theatre

PUBLISHED: 17:59 09 October 2013 | UPDATED: 18:01 09 October 2013

The Barrier - Toby Liszt (Shalev), Dominique Gerrard (Malka)

The Barrier - Toby Liszt (Shalev), Dominique Gerrard (Malka)


Park Theatre


When the intermittent flick of a Gentile’s security light causes a practical issue with their devout Hasidic neighbour, the two unrelated factions have serious problems.

In a fiercely intelligent work by Sally Lewellyn, The Barrier offers a topical spotlight on how different faiths struggle to live in (dis)harmony, in the confines of ­inner-city life.

The drama starts slowly and there are some notes that fall flat.

For one, there is a danger that Jack Pierce’s Sam may lean a little too close to an approximation of Alan Partridge. This can jar with the content. At times, however, his breezy injection is welcome light relief. Tessa Wood’s role as the mother of Antonia Davies’ Cas, ­although well performed, is a little too caricatured for comfort. Finally, the staging can occasionally be a little too fiddly, with some scene changes left feeling clumsy.

This all sounds like a substantial amount of negatives. Yet this is a play that is considerably greater than its constituent parts – a thought provoking piece of theatre that encourages discussion. It is about the remit of tolerance (in all directions). Peace, love and ­understanding. It is also a play that ­improves as it progresses. By the time of the denouement, attention is locked and loaded like a tractor beam.

There are strong echoes of Mike Leigh running through its veins and for many, there cannot be much higher praise than that. The Barrier strikes a lovely balance between flippancy and heft. The net result is a production that is both fleet footed and utterly memorable.

Until October 20.

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