REVIEW: Nightfall (Bridge Theatre) ★★★

Nightfall, a new play by Barney Norris, is the latest production at The Bridge, a 900-seat theatre space near Tower Bridge. Founded by Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr after leaving the National Theatre; The Bridge aims to focus on commissioning and producing new shows.

Nightfall tells the tale of four characters over four evenings in the garden of a Hampshire farmhouse. Life has changed and they are all coming to terms with their new reality and facing the future. Jenny (Claire Skinner) has lost her husband and passed the day to day running of the farm to her son, Ryan (Sion Daniel Young) who relishes the opportunity to take control. Ryan’s sister, Lou (Ophelia Lovibond) has returned to the farm to support her family. Pete (Ukweli Roach), a friend of Ryan and Lou’s ex-boyfriend, has turned up to lend a hand after some time away. Over the course of four evenings, we observe the conversations and understand that what we may have thought was an idyllic country life is anything but as emotions and long-hidden secrets are revealed.

Norris’s writing builds a picture of the family’s struggle to make their farm work; the four actors do a good job of bringing it to life and their interactions with each other are convincing, particularly in the second act when emotions are high. Some of the scenes felt a little too long and some plot points didn’t quite ring true for me; the flexible auditorium space is well used to create the farmyard setting with a mix of country idyll and industry. The changing light as the days turn into night is well designed by Chris Davey. Barney Norris is a young writer worth keeping an eye on.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Manuel Harlan


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