Wow. This was great.
Despite our unexpectedly disappointing evening at the Hampstead the day before in the hands of old favourites Neil Labute and Michael Attenborough, we still had high hopes for this play by new playwright Brad Birch and emerging director Mel Hillyard.
Our high hopes were well founded. A young teacher descending into psychotic madness does not sound like an entertaining, even amusing subject. Yet somehow this extraordinary play and production indeed entertained and amused, while also bemusing and shocking us.
The cast were all excellent, with especially strong performances by Ciarán Owens as the unfortunate young teacher, Nick, and Vince Leigh in several roles, as Nick’s headmaster and other tormentors.
Vince Leigh I recognised as soon as he came onto the stage, as a nice fellow I chat with sometimes at the health club. I was delighted and relieved when he and the production turned out to be so good. At dinner afterwards, one of Janie’s first, unprompted and highly-positive comments was about Vince’s performance, at which point I told her about the small but pleasing connection.
We’re big fans of the Orange Tree and think that Paul Miller is doing great things there since taking over eighteen months or so ago. Pomona, for example, was simply superb.
We attended the last preview – so press night is this Monday. We really hope that The Brink is well received by the critics and does well for the Orange Tree – it deserves to.