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Pomegranate

When Phyllis comes home after running away with her daughter’s teenage boyfriend, she has to face her demons...

Published on May 3rd 2006.


Pomegranate

By Linda Marshall Griffiths

Directed by Jo Combes

When Phyllis comes home after running away with her daughter’s teenage boyfriend, she has to face her demons. But with her daughter Denise wanting revenge and her Mother Dahud searching for her lost child, can Phyllis ever put the past behind her once and for all?

Set in a slate town inspired by Blaenau Ffestinog in Wales, this play owes its title to the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, in which the young Persephone is stolen from her mother Demeter by Hades the God of the Underworld and condemned by the eating of a pomegranate to spending part of each year in the Underworld.

The Royal Exchange seems to have struck a rich vein of talent and mined it expertly. This is powerful stuff. Passionate, poetic, poignant and riveting. Linda Marshall – Griffiths possesses an ear for dialogue and the creative ability to make a substantial impact on the theatrical scene. Her characters display an emotional realism which is very impressive. A writer to be followed by anybody with an interest in the health of home grown theatre.

Becky Hurst creates the perfect environment. One feels , smells and sees a slate town in all its crumbling reality. The lighting by Tom ‘Dexter’ Scott and the sound by Gerry Marsden are important constituents to a staging which is excellent in every area.

The 3 actors playing the grandmother, her daughter and grandaughter are superb. Jennifer Piercey, Victoria Carling and Lorna Lewis involve the audience from the outset and for the next 100 minutes never let go for a second. The interval is a nuisance. Particular credit to Ms Carling. She is a wonderful Phyllis running the whole gamut of emotion in her portrayal of a guilt ridden daughter and a guilt ridden mother seeking to absolve herself from the vulnerability of the depressing reality created by her own selfish behaviour. Her performance is of the highest calibre.

Andy Hockley, Rhys Matthews and Phil Rowson are all excellent. This is ensemble acting of the highest order.

Much of the credit must go to the Director Jo Combes. The words are allowed to speak for themselves (and are much better for that) and the direction effortlessly supports the plot, the poetry and the theatrical merit of the evening. She handles the limitations of the acting space to considerably enhance the message and nature of the events on stage.

For the next fortnight the Royal Exchange has two magnificent productions running in tandem. Miss them if you dare.

Well done Artistic Directors. This is outstanding theatre.

Richard Burbage
April 2006

At the Studio, The Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester
Box Office 0870 833 9833
www.royalexchange.co.uk

Until 13th May

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