Replay’s excellent acting and rich characterisation make it well-worth seeing.
Training, working and arguing with her neighbour’s cat – W’s life seems a bit empty sometimes. She’s a junior police officer, determinedly seeking a promotion, but outside of work she seems nervous and lost. W’s life is abruptly plunged into turmoil when she receives a cassette with a birthday message recorded for by Jamie, her older brother, when she was still a child. Jamie has since died, and W has never come to terms with his passing. Hearing her brother’s voice again is a traumatic experience for W, and the episode forces her to confront difficult memories which she has tried to suppress. It’s heavy subject matter, but that doesn’t stop the show from being enjoyable. The script is replete with comic moments which counter-balance its poignant exploration of grief.
Wren’s energetic performance is excellent to watch and her highly-strung physicality fits perfectly with W’s unacknowledged grief. In one memorable section she portrays her carefree childhood self and, through the contrast with her as adult, highlights how deeply unresolved trauma as affected her.
The venue too fits well with the show. The slightly raised audience look down upon the stage along three sides, while the theatre’s intimate dimensions add to the tense atmosphere. The set is a minimal affair - a small bench comes to represent numerous locations throughout the story - but this simplicity is effective and ensures that the audience’s attention is always on Wren. The subtle use of sound and lighting (designed by Max Perryment and Tom Kitney, respectively) further enhance a suspenseful ambience.
A powerful and emotive production by DugOut Theatre, Replay’s excellent acting and rich characterisation make it well-worth seeing.