Where The Crow Flies

Oct 20 2016 | By More

★★★★☆  Complex

Scottish Storytelling Centre: Tues 18 – Wed 19 Oct 2016
Review by Hugh Simpson

Subtly written and excellently performed, Where The Crow Flies, In Motion Theatre Company’s touring production, is a lucid and compelling tale.

Carrie, victimised by her neighbours since her husband was imprisoned for murder, is immediately suspicious of her new neighbour Emily’s friendliness. Emily claims only to want to help – but is she all she seems? Any synopsis of the plot of Lisa Nicoll’s play suggests some kind of dark psychological thriller, but this is much more rooted in everyday life, and much richer emotionally as a result.

Keira Lucchesi. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic

Keira Lucchesi. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic

It is clear early on where the story is going, with later developments being signalled all too obviously. This is not necessarily a drawback, as it reflects writing that is subtle and nuanced, and – a slight mis-step in the opening scene apart – avoids the melodramatic and the trite.

There is a depth to the two characters that is enhanced greatly by the performances. Angela Darcy is tremendous as Emily, utterly believable and particularly good at suggesting that this is a real person with a hinterland. Keira Lucchesi (best known for River City) is a mixture of defiance and despair.

Such multi-layered acting chimes very well with one of the play’s themes – that it becomes all too easy to put labels on other people (or ourselves) that fail to address the complexities of their situation.

The interplay between the actors creates a thoroughly plausible world beyond the two houses depicted on stage. Jessica Brettle’s set helps immensely with this feeling of concreteness; it is an object lesson in how to construct a set with different acting areas, that is far from a realist depiction but creates a feeling of reality. The fragment of a garden wall between the two houses is a particularly clever touch, symbolic on many levels and so useful as the play progresses.

Angela Darcy. Photo Mihaela Bodlovic

Angela Darcy. Photo Mihaela Bodlovic

Beth Morton’s direction is admirably clear, stressing everything that is important, giving the action a commendable flow and bringing the best out of two such talented performers.

There are certainly flaws here. The crows mentioned in the title are part of a doomy mysticism that is hinted at rather portentously, then fails to go anywhere. The closing scene, although necessary in many ways, is strangely at odds with what has gone before. And – like many plays of a similar length – there is a suspicion that it could have been ten minutes shorter.

Overall, however, this is a well put together, thought-provoking piece, well worth catching on the rest of its tour.

Running time 1 hour 5 minutes (no interval)
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-46 High Street, EH1 1SR
Tuesday 18 – Wednesday 19 October 2016
Evenings: 7.30pm
Run ended

Touring to:

21st October: Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock (Book Here)
25th October: Bathgate Regal (Book Here)
26th October: Paisley Arts Centre (Book Here)
2 – 3 November: Tron Theatre, Glasgow (Book Here)

More information on In Motion TC’s website: http://www.inmotiontc.co.uk/where-the-crow-flies
Part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. www.mhfestival.com.

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