Reviewed by David Smith
Director Rob Croser has brought another striking new piece of theatre to Adelaide audiences. And this tense psychological drama set in a 1937 Yorkshire mining village brings both him and Independent Theatre much credit.
Alongside some remarkable individual performances was a tight sense of ensemble and unity of purpose. It was a potentially difficult balance between the dour north country reality and the other-wordly channelling of the Pritchard family’s deceased young son, Edgar, by Terence, his childhood friend. The cast capably mastered those challenges.
Will Cox’s portrayal of Terence was a tour de force. This complex role allowed him to show his further development as a skilled and subtle actor. With a combination of forceful idealistic argument, gentleness and inevitably, deception, Terence worked his will on the other diverse characters, acting as a catalyst in their growth towards self-understanding. Cox handled it all most adeptly.
Alicia Zorkovic played the troubled Elizabeth Pritchard with strength and sensitivity. She matched Terence’s intensity when needed and clearly showed Elizabeth’s emergence from the decade-long mourning to a definite, if at first hesitant, independence from her husband Harold. Brant Eustice played Harold the intransigent mine owner and brought to the role both the required early dominance and the later contrasting self-doubt.
Lyn Wilson and Michael Eustice as Terence’s parents provided good foils to the other characters and introduced a degree of normality and humour. Heather McNab, too, had some dramatically strong moments as Eileen, the maid.
Importantly, the large opening night audience was captivated from the start.