Spiral at Park Theatre
Spiral is a scaled-back production that, at least according to the programme, tries to explore “what happens when you can’t trust the people you love”. While it certainly does examine the theme of trust, it would be more accurate to describe the drama as an exploration of trauma and healing.
The play gets off to a strong start. Petite Abigail Hood – who as well as writing the piece, stars on stage as Leah – enters in a school uniform and looks convincingly enough like a school-age teen that the slow reveal of who and what she really is at once subtle and unmissable. As an escort hired by Tom to imitate his missing daughter, the flirtatious way in which Hood speaks to and takes direction from Tom morphs nicely from contextually unsettling to poignant, as her co-star – played excellently by Adam Morris – makes it abundantly clear that this is not a sexual exercise.
Indeed, great performances and first-rate monologuing elevate this piece far beyond the arguably derivative nature of the plot. While the story of a kind-hearted prostitute in need of saving who aids an older man with his loneliness has been seen time and time again, the way in which the situation is acted out and explored gives the production an incredibly fresh feeling. Tracey Wilkinson works wonders as a wife and mother in the worst turmoil imaginable, and Kevin Tomlinson is truly hateable (in a good way) as Leah’s abusive pimp/boyfriend Mark.
However, without giving anything away, there are aspects of the narrative that are not sufficiently resolved by the end. This gives a rushed and little-too-convenient impression to the final act which is otherwise tidied away quite nicely. Dark but not bleak, sad but not tragic, Spiral is still well worth a watch.
Photo: Benkin photography
Spiral is at Park Theatre from 7th August until 1st September 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.