Summer Day’s Dream at the Finborough Theatre
Summer Day’s Dream by JB Priestley has been renewed in London for the first time in over 60 years. Finborough Theatre has done a splendid job at bringing this eerie classic to life.
This production cleverly reflects the important ideas put forth by this play. Costume designer Josie Thomas has drawn a great parallel between synthetic and natural materials, and the fake versus natural lifestyles of the play’s different characters. Director Alex Marker has ensured that his actors take the time to build the suspense of Priestley’s play; one of the actors is on stage before the audience even knows the show has started.
Kevin Colson plays the patriarch of the Dawlish family, around whom the play is centered. His voice is deep and strong, and his movements embody those of a wise grandfather. The audience is instantly on side with him and it is Colson’s performance that holds the entire production together.
That is not to say, however, that the rest of the actors do not hold their own. Tom Grace and Eleanor Yates stand out in particular as the two youngest members of the Dawlish family; they both bring an energy and charm to the production that is quite enchanting. The cast members bring their individual characters to life with great skill, although in the first act a sense of connection between them is lacking. As often happens with plays that involve such a great amount of dialogue, it seems the actors are a little too focused on their own lines, instead of one other.
This changes in the second act however, and when the cast gain confidence and start to properly interact with one other, the play becomes far more engaging. The humour starts to really show at this point, and the audience becomes more absorbed.
When the on-stage chemistry picks up, the tension becomes palpable. Priestley’s strong moral message and criticisms of class systems shine through, and the audience is captured by the strangeness and drama of this wonderful play.
Summer Day’s Dream is at the Finborough Theatre until 24th September 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.