Tiny Dynamite at the Old Red Lion Theatre
“Last time she found me licking the pavement. She thinks I’ve lost hope. I just like the taste.”
Anthony doesn’t function the way Luce thinks he should. She’s fretted over him since they were Shy Girl and Runt Boy playing together in the rain, and even more so since the tragedy, the unshakeable experience that glues them together. But it’s the sudden arrival of the beguiling Madeleine that forces Anthony and Luce to revisit their shared past.
Writer Abi Morgan (who counts theatre, TV and films including The Iron Lady and Suffragette to her name) has written a smart script with layers to strip away and enough ambiguity to challenge its audience to do some colouring in. It asks whether insanity versus logic is really just idealism versus hopelessness; whether living is worth it without the risk of dying; or whether love is worth its loss.
Tiny Dynamite‘s first professional revival in 15 years brings together an innovative set, immersive soundscape and winsome performances. Changing the gender of one of the characters (Luce is a man, Lucien, in Morgan’s script) brings an extra dimension. Niall Bishop’s Anthony pits childlike emotional intensity against a matter-of-fact likeability. Eva-Jane Willis is a study in just-coping and her reminiscing monologues are some of the most heart-wrenching moments of the play. Both are offset by Tanya Fear’s warm, confident Madeleine.
Anna Reid’s set is all angles and wooden floorboards, a stream of water framing the edges to keep the characters afloat on their little island. Hanging lightbulbs flash overhead, bees buzz loudly, pylons crackle with dream-inducing static. David Loumgair’s direction invokes paranoia and instability, but knows how to utilise a still moment to let the humanity shine through.
Tiny Dynamite draws to a consoling and therapeutic end, but by no means a neat one. This complex piece of storytelling offers all the jigsaw puzzle pieces, but the final picture depends on how much work you’re willing to do to put them together.
Photo: Richard Davenport
Tiny Dynamite is at the Old Red Lion Theatre from 9th January until 3rd February 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Tiny Dynamite here: