The Busy World is Hushed
Reviewed – 10th October 2017
“Oxley’s nuanced and passionate performance makes it hard to take your eyes off him”
Family and faith collide in The Busy World is Hushed. Set in present day New York, this European premiere of Keith Bunin’s off-Broadway play sees three people searching for consolation down self destructive paths.
This is an excellent play, performed by a strong cast. Unfortunately this production fumbles. Too often technicalities overshadow plot details. There are serious pacing issues throughout – the first half felt particularly clumsy – and while impressive, none of the cast seemed comfortable in the set. The direction (Paul Higgins) appears to be working against them, creating uncomfortable distances.
Despite that the cast do some impressive work. Michael James’ Thomas saves the first half with his energy and charm, upping the stakes every time he comes on stage. The connection between him and Mateo Oxley’s Brandt is immediately palpable and allows the second half to really gain some emotional momentum as it careers into the final act. But it’s Oxley who stands out in the second half. As Brandt struggles to hold himself together, Oxley’s nuanced and passionate performance makes it hard to take your eyes off him and it’s his strength in the face of heartbreak that really lands a punch with the audience. As Hannah, Kazia Pelka has the warmth and clarity of a woman powered by faith, but she suffers most in terms of staging, and at times seems lost on stage.
There are some really fantastic elements in this production and the ending certainly delivers. However, (at the moment) it’s a nervous production and the insecurity on stage doesn’t allow the audience to relax and enjoy the story.
Reviewed for thespyinthestalls.com
Photography by Scott Rylander
THE BUSY WORLD IS HUSHED
is at The Finborough Theatre until 25th November