Reviewed by Kym Clayton
The structure of the play is interesting and is another in an ever-growing number in which writers bend time for dramatic effect and to assist in the story telling. But Scenes from a Separation attempts to expose and examine almost every minute detail of Nina’s and Matthew’s relationship and the result is over-written dialogue that leaves you feeling you have been lectured at for far too long.
However, issues of the script aside, director Megan Dansie has put together an excellent cast and production team. It must be said from the outset that Erik Straut’s set design was excellent – one of the best I have seen in recent years – and greatly assisted the feel and flow of the play. Coupled with Richard Parkhill’s lighting design it was clever and versatile enough to move freely between scenes as diverse as driving on the open highway at night, inside and outside of boardroom meetings, and soirees at the family beach house.
Rachel Burfield and Tim Williams were very good in the major roles of Nina and Mathew and played the estranged couple with a mix of pathos and despair. In what was almost a master class in gesture and body language, Nicole Rutty provided the much needed distraction from the depressing subject material in what was the stand-out performance of the night as Nina’s unlucky-in-love, witty and cynical sister.
Completing the cast is Alica Zorkovic (whose difficult board room argument scene with Mathew was especially good), Steve Marvanek (who played the lack-of-substance brother of Mathew quite convincingly), Lindsay Dunn (who understated the role of Nina’s love interest) and Vee Noble (who had fun with the often intoxicated and always bitter matriarch of the family.)
In all, a challenging and demanding night at the theatre that was well received by an appreciative audience.