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Gravity (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Gravity from the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company realistically portrays the stresses of the classroom, but tries too hard to blend it with a scientific metaphor.

Science teacher David struggles against the daily pressures of school inspections, and his own personal problems.  He is delighted when he discovers his student Kyle is as passionate about physics as he is, but this quickly turns to disappointment when Kyle becomes more like the troublemaker of the class, Reece.

Writer Arzhang Pezhman uses his experience as a teacher to successfully portray the pressures of the classroom. Nigel Hastings is the obsessive David who seems to have years of pent up emotion from constant provocation.

Ashley Hunter’s Reece is so annoying that most of the time you’ll want to send him out of the classroom yourself.  Interestingly the school children watching this particular performance found his jokes hilarious, which proves how realistic a character he is. Rebecca Loudon has some comic moments as a bored looking Chantay. Boris Mitkov is very good as the isolated and inquiring loner Kyle, though his transformation to sulky pupil is less convincing.

The plot itself is a little clunky, especially right at the beginning and the end. Pezhman introduces topical themes, which are then repeated too many times. For example, Chantay’s brother in Afghanistan is alluded to more than necessary.  The realism of the play also means the audience has to suffer a number of physics lectures from David.

Gravity is a well-directed play with a brilliant cast, but the creative ambition of the play fails to fully materialise.

- Joanna Ing

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