Review: The Spring Tide, Old Red Lion Theatre, EC1

Lorena Vila as Suzy, Nellie McQuinn as Lan. Photo by Jack Weir

Lorena Vila as Suzy, Nellie McQuinn as Lan. Photo by Jack Weir - Credit: Archant

Carol Vine’s The Spring Tide is a modern day lesbian love story of transformation and hope. Directed by Graham Hubbard, it tells the story of two school friends, Suzy and Lan, and the different paths through life they choose to take.

The straight-laced teenage Suzy has loved the non-comformist and more unconventional Lan her whole life, and a world without Lan in it would be unimaginable. But the strongest feelings are also the most dangerous, and Suzy is afraid. Instead of choosing the life she covets with Lan, she opts for a life of safety, convincing herself over the years that this is the right path.

Years go by and although successful, Suzy feels miserable and unfulfilled in the middle class family life she has created for herself, dreaming only of Lan’s return. When Lan does finally reappear after many years apart, as an openly gay woman yearning for the relationship she once had with Suzy, this shatters everything Suzy has made her own – a home, a husband, a son.

But even as life’s circumstances have pulled them apart, Lan and Suzy are still drawn to one another by a deep and irresistible bond. As her world begins to unravel, Suzy must confront her fears and desire and she must make a decision, whatever the cost.

The play moves between Suzy and Lan as school children and the grown up versions of the two. The actors who play the young characters (Lorena Vila and Nellie McQuinn) appear hauntingly similar to the two women as adults (Melanie Ramsay and Anita Parry) and this adds authenticity and sadness to this story. All the actors give performances which are heart breaking and passionate and they bring life to this sensitive and convincing story.

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This is a tragic tale of betrayal, desire and the high cost of living a false life. Highly recommended.

**** (Four out of five stars)

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