Friday, June 22, 2007

Middle Man (Small Miracle - Tricycle)

Twenty minutes into Small Miracle I was wondering whether I had made a serious mistake. I had bought tickets on an impulse, egged on by Charles Spencer's rave in the Torygraph. This comedy about family life seemed rather light and tired, the interfering mother in-law and stroppy teenager standard comedy meme's, with a comedy irishman thrown in. But slowly I was drawn into a play about family, loss, loneliness and hope, that smoulders if never truly catching light.

Bronagh and her teenage daughter Sadie have been brought to a camp site at the shrine of Knock by her partner Arjun, with his mother Meera, a hindu with a thing for the Virgin Mary, in tow. Whilst at the shrine Sadie (ever the stroppy teenager) begins to see visions and Meera is cured of her various ailments and shacks up with the campsite janitor, much to her son's distress.

There is much comedy to be mined from this set up, but Neil D'Souza's script is strangely hit or miss, with most of the laughs coming from Souad Faress foul-mouthed granny. However D'Souza is on much firmer ground when exploring the darker side of this messed up family, Meera's loneliness, Arjun's lack of fulfilment, and the strained relationship between Sadie and her Mother.

This isn't a play that is going to change the world, or one that I will probably remember in 12 months time, but it has its own quirky charm and doesn't outstay its welcome.


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