Theatre West yet again bring something new and high quality to the Bristol stage. Heather Lister’s tender portrait of the family life of a blind son and his parents is the fourth in their Picture Thisseason.
With director Andy Burden, Lister and the cast have spun a sensitive, funny and delicate web. Each player treads warily, with son Sam most alert as to how our own steps vibrate through the others’ lives.
The creative coup is in how a tale of “blind boy leaves home for uni” is also a tale that (in the words of one audience member) “every parent should see”. This is a story of lovers becoming parents, of a son who loves them while sometimes wishing them dead and of how we all get it wrong - but sometimes get it right.
Andy Kelly as Sam is a gentle pillar of wisdom, a joy to watch; Suzannah Hampton is completely believable as Ellie, his mum, never falling into the easy trap of cliche, and Dan Winter’s Jim, driven both for himself and for his son to find a “normal” life, is utterly sympathetic. It is a fine ensemble.
Natalie Remington’s set transforms the Alma’s black box, while Paul Lewis very smoothly meets the lighting challenges that make this piece sing out.
Running ‘til 26 November, this is one to catch while you can.