Seagulls & Heart's Desire - Review

Playwright Caryl Churchill uses language as Picasso uses paint; her tales of the unexpected encompass traditional, abstract, surreal or historic.

In Seagulls and Heart’s Desire, she moves beyond visual artistry into a realm only possible with words – the subjunctive. What if Valery, in Seagulls, really can’t move objects by thought: what if her gift is fugitive, imaginary, or even analogous? Is not doing something as interesting as doing it? Sandra Ventris is compelling in her portrayal of a simple woman, confronted by questions she never thought to ask.

Heart’s Desire re-runs the moment when a long-expected daughter returns from Australia. Or does she? The family hopes and fears and waits as one ghastly scenario follows another – about 25 of them in all. Crashes, arrests, shootings, partners and a giant bird illustrate the anxiety contingent upon an event so eagerly anticipated.

David Agnew is superb as the recurring Brian, worry accelerating his irritation with the long-suffering Alice played by Liz Stapleton. Lavanya Boon has the thankless task of explaining the trouble of waiting, Godot style, for something arriving from somewhere, while Cliff Jones brilliantly tackles two unsympathetic roles as crass questioner and drunk brother.

Review for The Augus by Louise Schweitzer - Monday 7 October 2013