Knife crime drama

BRITAIN has to face up to the stark reality of increasing teenage knife crime.

Theatre Review

Gallery Players - The Long Road by Shelagh Stephenson

Sir John Mills Theatre March 10 to 14

BRITAIN has to face up to the stark reality of increasing teenage knife crime.

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And the latest production from the Gallery Players of Shelagh Stephenson's play, 'The Long Road' tackles this thorny subject with unsettling honesty.

This production presents the audience with an intensely intimate glimpse in to the effect a random and fatal knife attack has on the lives of not only the family of the victim but also that of the attacker.

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We pick up on the story of the lives of Mary (Linda Bailey) and John (Martin Leigh) Pritchard after their 18 year old son has been killed in an unprovoked knife attack by Emma (Maria Louis), a girl of the same age, high on drugs and witnessed by their second son Joe (Josh Keeble).

Family conflict emerges when Mary decides that the only way to cease her torment is by meeting her son's murderer face-to-face and - against her husband's advice - contacts Emma's prison social worker (Lindsay Ashford) to arrange a visit.

The impact of Stephenson's script is in the sincerity of her writing with every line of dialogue believable, resulting in instant affinity with each of the characters brilliantly realised by a remarkably talented company of actors.

The cast of five portray their respective roles with such a degree of consideration and precision that their characters' confusion, pain and attempts to reconcile their lives is profoundly moving.

With such a dark and poignant subject matter it would be easy to assume that this play hauls you through an evening of misery, but not so.

In spite of exploring the pitiful grief and turmoil each of the characters are trying to understand and in their own way come to terms with, there is an overwhelming tenderness that comes through in this play that somehow makes it very acceptable.

The thorough understanding of human emotion in the direction of this production and incredibly strong individual performances often crosses in to the unsettling realms of reality, making this an astonishing piece of theatre.

'The Long Road' is a powerfully influential play that people need to see and should become an integral part of the education curriculum of every teenager.


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