Theatre review: Keepsake at the Old Red Lion Theatre Pub

Lou Broadbent as Samara and Dilek Rose as Abra in Keepsake at the Old Red Lion

Lou Broadbent as Samara and Dilek Rose as Abra in Keepsake at the Old Red Lion - Credit: Archant

The kitchen, the heart of the home so still and lived in, is the perfect setting for this multilayered, multi-themed melodrama.

Written by American playwright Gregory Beam, and directed by Sean Martin, Keepsake is the first outing for the script and for the theatre company, Free Trade Productions, and neither disappoint.

Set in a small American town, two sisters are reunited at the family home in Massachusetts following the suicide of their father. Time has turned them into strangers but they are bound by a familiarity at once easy and comic but with a hint of old tensions rising up to be acknowledged.

Lou Broadbent, as the free spirited Samara carries the first half, along with her sister Abra, played by Dilek Rose who slowly and painfully opens up, so that nothing is what it at first seems. Doubling her role as the mother, Rose enhances the cultural differences that course through the veins of the story.

Messages left on the answer machine and the lights dimming to capture flashbacks into the family history and the father’s descent into mental illness explain the present moment in ways unimaginable by the end of the first half.


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By the second half, the action accelerates, possibly a little too fast as the themes of mental health, alcoholism, religion, sexual violence, family duty, and the total dysfunction of modern society comes to the fore in a thrilling climax.

Keepsake is full of cultural and political references, of family issues that are common to us all. With strong performances from a small cast, it is a positive first outing for this new theatre company.

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Until January 25th

****

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