I Knew You
Reviewed – 19th June 2018
“strong across both form and language”
Angela is a teacher, the last of the old guard, dealing with impossibly young teaching assistants who offer her help every time she squints at her phone. Her son, Nathan, is now a parent himself, a stay at home dad in fact. Patrick left them both twenty years ago. But now he’s back, and he’s dying, and they need to decide how to react. This is a beautiful piece of writing by writer and spoken word artist Polarbear, strong across both form and language, supported by consistently strong acting, that tackles family, abandonment and loneliness in a deeply truthful way.
The piece is beautifully staged, each scene flowing organically into the next, the actors never leaving the stage. It is made up predominantly of monologues that merge into intermittent scenes between characters completely naturally. Human, truthful and intimate, this is theatre to an incredibly high standard.
All of the actors are strong, no weak link across the cast. Lorna Laidlaw as Angela is particularly engaging, warm and playful when we first meet her getting excited over an offer of chocolate Hobnobs, followed by a deeply relatable and moving performance as the play unfolds.
My only complaint is that I was not ready for the play to end, both to its credit and to its detriment. The play could easily have continued for another hour, and, in my opinion, should have. The ending as it stands feels unnecessarily abrupt and open ended. Whilst a complete resolve isn’t needed, the level of openness feels ultimately unsatisfying for an audience. However it is of course to the play’s credit that I am sufficiently involved in and connected to this world that I want to know more.
This is an incredibly strong piece of theatre, flawed only by a premature ending. From its writing to its performance, this is an otherwise faultless production.
Reviewed by Amelia Brown
I Knew You