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Hatch (24:7 Festival)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Hatch, by Liverpool playwright Colette Kane, takes you through almost an hour of hope and despair with an ending which leaves events in the balance.

It’s about the home coming of absentee father, Conal after seven years in prison, and the reaction of his two grown up children to his return.

Is he welcomed with open arms? How long does it take for the family to accept him and are they afraid he will go away again?

The son, Sean, played by Joe Shipman is doubly anxious. Naturally insecure, he clings emotionally to his dad.

When Brian L.Stephens in the key role of the father, indicates his imminent departure it hits his son hard since he hopes to go with him but is rejected.

The daughter, Luna, (Helen Carter) is motherly towards her father and brother. She doesn’t want her dad to discover her line of work – it might shock him!

There is a lovely scene when Conal arrives and his family aren’t sure whether to take him to the pub or stay at home. They sit in a row on the couch wondering what to say to one another and make good use of pause.

This play is a hotbed of emotion and secrets yet the whole production is a bit flat. The feelings are hidden rather too well. Where is the spark, the anger, the love illustrated between these three?

The Liverpool accent has a lilting charm but is not always easy for Mancunians to decipher.

The play gets its title from a duck sitting on her eggs outside the window. Eventually they hatch. I wonder if the playwright is comparing the duck eggs with the hatching of the relationship between the father and his children? Only the writer can answer that question.

- Julia Taylor

*Reviewed at New Century House, Manchester


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