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Items of Value (Alma Tavern, Bristol)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Katherine Mitchell’s new play looks at what we choose to give real value to and is a particularly apt way to end Theatre West’s successful A-Z season as we approach the consumer led Christmas season. Items of Value takes a look at how capitalism can impact on our lives and how physical and emotional attachments can pull at us. The sharp script deals with its subject matter through three brilliantly crafted characters with real energy and warmth - helped enormously by fabulous performances from the actors involved.

The action is set in Eddie’s (Tom Sherman) scrap-yard; Eddie is reliable and honest but seems averse to change and clings to the security of his scrap business. His ordered life is interrupted by the return of his girlfriend Holly (Lucinda Holloway) from an extended trek around the world. Holly is a free-spirited tattooist with very little in the way of attachments and she tries to persuade Eddie to return to the Far East with her. It is the difference in their two world views that is at the heart of the piece and the two characters are so well drawn that you really route that they will overcome their differences and find a way to be together.

Providing comic relief is the character of Dogger (Marc Geoffrey) who is perhaps the most untrustworthy security guard you could ever employ but a character you still really warm to. Dogger is a regular – although not always welcome -visitor to Eddie’s port-a-cabin and the two men play cards and discuss their lives in the runabout way men often do. Dogger is a wheeler dealer but underneath this brash exterior there is man who is worried about keeping his jobs and the need to provide his wife with all the latest luxury goods.

Items of Value closes Theatre West’s latest season with suitable aplomb and the play’s ending drew audible satisfied ‘Ahs’ from those in attendance.