REVIEW: VINCENT RIVER (Park Theatre) ★★★★
Vincent River by Philip Ridley was first performed at Hampstead Theatre in 2001 and had a well-received run in the West End in 2007. Director Robert Chevara revives the play at Park Theatre; it seems appropriate to revisit a play about the aftermath of a hate crime when these have risen by 29% in the UK in the last year.
The play is an 80 minute two-person play set in a single room that works well in the Park 90 theatre which has been transformed into a shabby East London flat. Anita has invited Davey into her home, he has a black eye and she offers to clean his wounds. At first glance this seems to be a mother/son relationship but the conversation between them soon shows this is the first time they have met. The story plays out in real time as the reason Davey and Anita have been thrown together is revealed and we see that this teenage boy and middle aged woman have lots in common as their conversation develops from polite mistrust to deeply personal confessions revealing their connections to the victim of a recent violent murder.
Both actors are on stage together for the entire play and this piece relies on the audience believing the characters and their decisions. The roles of Anita and Davey have been well cast here. Experienced actress Louise Jameson brings the straight talking Londoner Anita to life in her living room. Davey is played by Thomas Mahy, a recent graduate of Drama Centre London who convinces with swings from cocky teenager to vulnerable young man with a side order of menace.
This is not a play for the faint hearted; Anita and Davey’s stories have tragic tones and there are graphic descriptions of violence. The writing is skillful and well performed by Jameson and Mahy who draw the audience into the story until they part forever at the bitter end.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: David Monteith Hodge