Spillikin – A Love Story

Spillikin, expertly directed and written by Jon Welch, follows two periods in the life of Sally, a charming and rebellious woman who married her unlikely childhood companion, the child-genius Raymond. After Sally is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Raymond builds her a robot for company. Through the ever more intimate conversations between Sally and the robot, we are taken into the first blooming of her relationship with Raymond.

This show is a beautifully evocative and moving story of relationships, loss and the complexities and simplicities of love; it should not be missed.

This touching account of the life-long love story of Sally is brought to life by Helen Ryan. Her consistently genuine portrayal of someone going through the final phases of Alzheimer’s, combined with the strength of the script will bring a tear to anyone’s eye who has experienced this disease in a loved one. A beautiful, touching performance.

Anna Munden as the young Sally absolutely embodies the life and soul of a rebellious conflicted teenager. Her flawless incarnation of the role is perfectly balanced, bringing bouts of laughter in all the right places while evoking empathy for a confused girl growing into womanhood. She counterbalances Ryan’s performance well, still able to have magnetic stage presence in the quieter moments.

The companion of the beautiful young Sally is Michael Tonkin-Jones, playing the youthful Raymond. He takes on this youthfulness with skill. His portrayal of the socially awkward and love-struck boffin is at times hilarious while providing a nice counterbalance to Munden’s visceral punk. Alan Munden – as well as building the immaculate set – plays the occasionally appearing Jonas, the technical support for the Robot and Raymond's co-worker and friend. His easy naturalism adds wonderfully soft interludes to the sometimes conflictual conversation of Sally with the Robot.

Jude Munden, the other co-designer, summons up graceful scene changes with the use of projection and a soothing soundtrack. These have the effect of not only making the scene changes go smoothly but adding to the atmosphere of the house with the passing of time.

Dare I say Robothespian played the role of the Robot somewhat… Robotically?

This show is a beautifully evocative and moving story of relationships, loss and the complexities and simplicities of love; it should not be missed. I fully expect to see this transfer as soon as the festival ends.

Reviews by Dixon Baskerville

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

‘A perfectly constructed and superbly acted play’ ***** (BritishTheatreGuide.info), 'An astonishing piece of theatre' ***** (EdinburghGuide.com), ‘Spillikin must have one of the biggest, warmest hearts on the Fringe…a delightful show whose technical accomplishments are matched by its compassion’ **** (List), ‘a talking robot - what is not to like?’ **** (Stage). ‘...beautifully evocative, moving story of relationships, loss and the complexities and simplicities of love; it should not be missed’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘A beautiful and innovative show’ **** (FringeGuru.com).

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