Review: A History of Falling Things at The New Vic, Newcastle under Lyme

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: James Graham

Director: Emma Lucia

A History of Falling Things centres on two lovers that are both brought together, and also separated by Keraunothnetophobia – the fear of falling satellites (This is not Romeo and Juliet). But James Graham uses fear to show more than just that.

The play is structured around two young lovers Robin and Jacqui who meet on an online forum to discuss their phobia, who then move their conversations onto Skype, and develop a strong bond with each other. Robin’s Mother and Jacqui’s father, add their own views on the advanced technological world that we live in, and their opinions on their offspring’s phobia. Within the production, there are also Skype conversations between Robin and his psychiatrist John, who adds a formal voice to the play. The incredibly comic courier Reece further brings a further sense of depth and believability into this classic love story.

The success of this production relies on the believability of the love shared for the two main protagonists Robin and Jacqui, and the two young actors Tom Hurley and Antonia Kinlay portray just that. Without their youthful energy and connection, this play just wouldn’t work. Hurley brings an excellent presence and energy to his rôle, which adds to the immature and exciteful nature of Robin, While Kinlay adds an in-depth portrayal of a young adult who is anxious to recover from her phobia and live her life.

The set of this piece is somewhat of a sterile nature, everything is pristine white, with a perfect circle of blue around the stage – it almost suggests a clinical prison cell-like atmosphere, which it is referred to as by both Robin’s Mother. Special mention goes to the projection by Nick Beadle, which adds a stylistic and imaginative feel to the production that appears to reflect Robin’s childlike imagination.

The only critique of this play is that some might say the resolution was too rapid and could have been staggered more. However, this is the first time the production has been staged since its premiere performance in Wales five years ago, and it is difficult to understand why it’s taken so long. Graham has written a fine piece of theatre that should stand the test of time – unlike many other plays, the topics and barriers shown in A History of Falling Things are timeless, and no matter how much technology progresses they will always affect some people.

This heart-warming comic play is not just about online romance, most importantly it’s about human interaction, and the struggles people have stepping into the unknown world, relationships and most importantly growing up.

So take a risk, you don’t need a falling satellite to hit you on the head to realise that this is a great night out.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Photo: Andrew Billington | Runs until 26 July 2014

The original review can be found here

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