In the intimate Trafalgar studios Studio 2, Mongrel Thumb present Again, a play designed to encapsulate the high tensions, resentments and childlike regressions which lace a family reunion.
The set, designed by Anthony Lame is uncomplicated, with floor panelling laid out in a basic house shape. The stage looks rather bare, topped with a few tucked away chairs and a table, highlighted further by the actors often looking uncomfortable in the space.
Writer Stephanie Jacob presents the story in fractured repetitions allowing for characters to express emotions which are clearly repressed by the construct of their family dynamic. This stylised rhythm of writing quickly becomes predictable and grinds the plot to a sluggish pace.
The acting by all the cast is often rigid and ill-paced. Rosie Day who plays the sexually liberated Izzy and her brother Adam, played by Charles Reston navigate their sibling rivalry with a rather incestuous tone. This sexual undercurrent bleeds into Adam’s fury towards his mother, in an unexpected and oedipal outburst. Although his input is infrequent, Chris Larkin who plays father of the family, Tom, does so with a certain amount of competence.
With a rather uninspiring storyline, Again, despite running at just over an hour, considerably drags and often falls short of laughs for a play described as a ‘comic drama’.
Reviewed by Nicole Darvill-Batten
Photo: Stephanie Jacob