Review Round-up: Stenham Tusk Courts Praise
As with That Face, Stenham again places her focus on a dysfunctional family. Three children play hide-and-seek; 15-year-old Elliott wears a crown, 13-year-old Maggie wraps herself in silk and little Finn draws on the walls. Together they watch a mobile phone intensely, willing it to come to life. Whose call are they waiting for and why are they home alone?
The cast is led by young newcomers Toby Regbo and Bel Powley, also features Tom Beard, Finn Bennett, Georgia Groome, Caroline Harker and Austin Moulton. Jeremy Herrin (who also helmed That Face) directs, with design by Robert Innes Hopkins.
With a clutch of raves, Stenham certainly overcame 'difficult second play' syndrome with aplomb. “A magnificent follow-up”, “another success” and “confirms a startling, theatrical promise” were typical of the acclamations that adorned the overnight notices. Indeed, it was hard to find a criticism among the gushings, with Michael Billington's hope that the young playwright “one day breaks out of the jagged family circle” about as cutting as it got. The young cast also came in for a plethora of plaudits, director Jeremy Herrin successfully drawing out a series of “dazzling performances”, not least from the “absolutely brilliant” Regbo and Powley.
- by Katie Blemler & Theo Bosanquet