Reviewed – 5th November 2018
“explores themes such as austerity, immigration, suicide and depression in a sensitive, thought-provoking way”
Set in South Wales on the eve of the demolition of the last factory in town, Exodus follows four friends as they build a plane in order to escape their town in search of a better life. Although, for the most part, a humorous play, Exodus explores themes such as austerity, immigration, suicide and depression in a sensitive, thought-provoking way.
Characters include Mary (Gwenllian Higginson), Ray (Liam Tobin), Gareth (Berwyn Pearce) and Timmy (Karim Bedda). Tobin and Pearce provide the majority of the comedy in the show, as Ray and Gareth, bouncing off each other well. They can have a tendency to be slightly overpowering and loud in the small theatre space, but it can’t be denied that both actors bring high levels of enthusiasm to their roles. Bedda portrays Timmy, a refugee who never speaks, but is a talented violinist, showing this by frequently performing live throughout the play. Whilst the other three characters are able to express themselves through speech, Bedda effectively performs through the playing of his instrument, which acts as his character’s voice and story.
Running alongside the plot of the building of the plane and preparations for the flight is Mary’s individual story, depicting town life and the struggles faced. Higginson does a fantastic job of engaging the audience throughout and is able to display a range of emotions extremely well. The transitions between the scenes with all four actors to Higginson’s monologues are seamless, with the remaining actors sitting down in sync and staring ahead, motionless. This adds to our engagement with what the character of Mary goes on to say and allows our focus to be solely on her.
Movement, directed by Emma Vickery, is brilliantly executed. A particular highlight is a sequence in which the group undertake “training” to deal with the possibility of thunderstorms during their flight, where lighting design by Katy Morison, as well as the violin music, enhances the scene further.
Exodus is, on the surface, a comedy. However, in reality, it’s much more than that. Universal themes are explored and, although set in Wales, this is a play that could be set pretty much anywhere in the UK. The cast and creative team, well led by writer and director Rachael Boulton, must be congratulated for the effort that has clearly gone into a production that’s both entertaining and moving.
Reviewed by Emily K Neal
Photography by Tom Flannery
Finborough Theatre until 20th November
Previously reviewed at this venue: