REVIEW: STRAIGHT TO THE HEART (Above The Arts) ★★★★
New York Times editor Ken Jaworowski recently showcased his work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and now brings three of his short plays to London’s West End for a series of lunch time performances.
PULSE tells the story of three separate characters, Charles, Ron and Diane. Charles (played by Alistair Brown) has grown up in a religious family. His father always tells people that his son is going to give him many many grandchildren but as Charles gets older he realises he can’t give his dad what he wants. He retreats to University to distance himself from his family back home. But one day, Charles’s father turns up on campus and it is time for the truth. Ron (played by Daniel Simpson) sends his son off to school every day, knowing he is being bullied. The school won’t do anything about it and the bully’s father seems more proud of his son that concerned about his behaviour. So Ron does all he can to protect his son and teaches him how to box so he can protect himself. But Ron soon realises that fighting back doesn’t always solve the problem and can sometimes just create new ones. Diane’s (Nadia Shash) father has been diagnosed with heart problems and has been told not to do anything too strenuous. But one day Diane finds him packing a bag to go on a hike. There is nothing she can say to stop him and so she goes along with him to look after him. But will his heart hold out?
ONE TO THE HEAD, ONE TO THE HEART is a very emotional story of Aaron (Daniel Simpson) and Beth (Nadia Shash). Their baby girl Emma has been born with special needs and sometimes Aaron wonders if it would be better to ignore her chocking cries at night and let her pass away. It’s all just too much for him to handle. When he goes to watch her in a ballet recital, the crowd laugh at her for barely being able to stand up. Will this be the final straw Aaron needs to end his daughters life for her own good or will he see the love that he really does have for her?
THE TRUTH TELLERS is an interesting story of Annie (Nadia Shash) and Larry (Alistair Brown). Two singletons who have boring jobs and worry they will never meet their life partner now that they are getting older and all their friends are settling down. A chance meeting at a club sees the two instantly click but they both pretend they are more successful in life than they really are. Will this lying bring them closer or tear them apart? Is honesty always the best policy?
Three actors and one black box of a stage. No fancy costumes of sets, just hard hitting monologues. The three stories are very different but brilliantly written and performed by the cast of three. It was a lot to take in for a lunch time show but left me thinking about the plays and their themes for the rest of the day.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
STRAIGHT TO THE HEART plays at Above The Arts until 28 October 2016