Sheltered at the Tabard
Sheltered by Greg A Smith is a seriously funny, intense piece of art. Set in today’s west London, we meet a typical middle class family with a dark and underlying twist. It’s Christmas Day and a homeless man has been welcomed into their home. He’s smart and very literate, he really fits in with this middle class family’s game of “Quotes”. How wonderful, you’re probably thinking. You’d be wrong.
Sheltered is full of moments of hysterical laughter that’s immediately consumed by an intense seriousness. The story has noticeable twists, which make you feel like the kid at the back of the class who had abruptly been told to stop laughing. It works. The script flows from one conversation to an entirely different situation in the blink of an eye. Smith is clearly talented, having written an outstanding and realistic script to accompany a rather unrealistic storyline that you wouldn’t believe if you were told.
The actors are nothing short of perfect. Every single one of the septet is perfect. Each fit into their roles as jelly fits into its mould; particularly the homeless man Rory (Michael Longhi), destitute but every bit enchanting. His innocence and upright moral standing has the audience yearning and longing for justice. Simultaneously, feelings of absolute hatred flood the atmosphere for the second homeless man Den (Jim Mannering) and Donald (Simon Mitelman), his middle class acquaintance, as they criminalise everything they do and say. Harry (Mike Duran), although very corrupt, somehow manages to extract sympathy from the audience. Tamisn (Nikki Squire), Jenna (Phoebe Batterson-Brown) and Marissa (Sarah Hannah), are audacious and compelling, in a good way.
These actors have a tough job cut out for them, but they manage to fill the one room set with all sorts of weird and wonderful and woeful things, and it really comes alive. Matters such as dog fighting, hostage-taking, and violent raping are present in this play; some of the action is intensely graphic and definitely unsuitable for children.
Smith’s piece is disastrous, satirical and darkly brilliant. At the end of the day – Merry Christmas.
Sheltered is on at Tabard Theatre until 6th December 2014, for further information or to book visit here.