Keepsake at the Old Red Lion
There is a lot going on in Keepsake, but Sean Martin’s smart direction makes the script come alive in such a natural way that the play unfolds smoothly and is able to grasp the audience’s attention from beginning to end.
As in most cases, a tragic occurrence is two sisters’ chance to make up after being lost for years. In their particular case, their father’s death is what brings them together again. Abra and Samara reunite and confront each other, unveiling their secrets little by little. Many coups de théâtre are wisely inlayed in a story that builds up with a good balance until the dramatic finale.
Through accurately studied devices the plot is narrated on two juxtaposed levels, revealing over time how situations from the past lead to the present state of affairs. Changes from one period to another are obvious yet the shift is very subtle: a single object can do the trick. Lighting and sound design play a key role in these changes of circumstance and are really effective. Not less important nor less impressive is Dilek Rose’s ability to impersonate both Abra and her mother Safweh when it only takes an accent to make the difference.
The actors give a substantial contribution to the success of this play: both Rose and Lou Broadbent (Samara) portray their characters well, exposing them in their frailties, fears and compassion. The people we see on stage look exactly like ordinary people facing everyday problems. Although it’s true that Abi and Sammy’s background may be a bit off the beaten path and that we meet them in a peculiar moment in their lives, the two young women could easily represent anyone. They are, after all, simply two girls in their early thirties dealing with lovers, jobs and family.
Perhaps Broadbent is too much on edge and Rose is slightly weaker in her performance but both are poignant and they won’t disappoint when the intensity of the act most requires it. If anything, Gregory Beam’s Keepsake commands intrigue and its staging at the Old Red Lion has great potential.
Keepsake is on at the Old Red Lion Theatre until 25th January 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the teaser trailer for Keepsake here: