From One Heart To Another, The Theatre Shed. BOAT, 6 May.
It’s not often that organ donation, a country hoe-down, dancing toys and lemon drizzle cake coincide in a theatrical production. But then The Theatre Shed specialises in pushing boundaries, and today’s performance for the Fringe at Brighton’s Open Air Theatre in Dyke Road Park was no exception. With a fully inclusive cast of over 40, this was always going to be an exuberant occasion, albeit dealing with life and death issues for people who face such challenges on a daily basis. ‘From One Heart to Another’ written with welcome humour by John Berry and directed with flair and enthusiasm by Viv Berry pulls no punches in presenting the complexity of the arguments which often face the young people on the stage and their families. It was a hugely ambitious undertaking by the joint Brighton and Chesham companies, with song, dance and dialogue, and the warm response of the audience on a cloudless day was a testament to their success. Affecting representations of situations of loss, frustration, and incomprehension were dramatised, and there were few compromises in either the script or performances.
There was some slackening of the pace in the middle and the sheer number of issues tackled would benefit from some assistance to the audience to be able to keep up, but that perhaps misses the point. Genuinely affecting vignettes were mixed with full cast set pieces which demonstrated that there are no easy answers when dealing with matters of the heart, your own and others, and the experiences of those, or their relatives, who have given and received transplants.
Many more people should see this production. The supportive atmosphere on the stage is very much part of the action, and the laugh out loud moments and often surreal tableaux including the whole cast demonstrated the support which the cast give each other throughout the show. An added bonus was the distribution of slices of lemon drizzle cake during the performance! It all made perfect sense if you were there, and perhaps that is a measure of the success of this truly affecting production.
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