FAR AWAY packs a powerful punch at the Donmar Warehouse ★★★★

Although this play is only 45 minutes in its running time, it sure packs a powerful punch. Contrary to what my fellow theatre-goer stated next to me, it certainly is worth taking your coat off for.

20 years after its original opening at the Royal Court, Caryl Churchill’s dystopian but delicious Far Away has been revived with a fantastic cast at the Donmar Warehouse.

The play begins with a large, mysterious block at the centre of the stage – I admired this clever use of staging, as it was consistently used as a tool that hid everything from the audience, igniting the crucial themes of fear and unease.

Jessica Hynes is perfectly cast. She provides a brilliant performance as Harper in the opening scene, successfully building tension whilst also adding humour for the audience to enjoy. Nonetheless, it was really Aisling Loftus as Joan who stood out for me in the final monologue. Whilst expressing fear, panic and frustration of a world where nature is at war, Loftus effectively envelops the audience, enabling a feeling of discomfort at the relevance and parallels of this to the modern world.

The play does also have moments of spectacle involving hats and a surprising set change, which keeps you on your toes for the duration of the show. Despite enjoying Far Away, I have to comment on the over-use of sound to build tension between scenes and the overall pace. I felt the silences could have had more of an impact, but at times I felt as though it was all moving too fast.

Far Away is certainly unique – the constant sense of dread does not exactly make it enjoyable, but it leaves you with a poignant message that is difficult to overlook.

Reviewed by Freya Martyniak
Photo: Johan Persson