Friday, September 20, 2019
Faith, Hope and Charity @ Dorfman Theatre...
Set in a run-down community hall on the edge of town, a woman has been cooking lunch for those in need. A choir is starting up, run by a volunteer who’s looking for a new beginning. A mother is seeking help in her fight to keep her young daughter from being taken into care. An older man sits silently in the corner, the first to arrive, the last to leave. Outside the rain is falling. And the hall has a leaky roof.
Alexander Zeldin’s writing and production are fantastic - naturalistic, unhurried, and all the more powerful for it. State of the Nation plays often have big, power political leaders declaiming their grand pearls of wisdom. Not so here. Here we see the results of austerity; the results of poverty; and the compassion of the needy.
The play also lives up to its title in different ways. The charity – though she would never use the word – is supplied by Hazel (played note-perfect by Cecillia Noble), who voluntarily cooks hot meals for the hungry. The hope largely stems from Mason (the fantastic Nick Holder), a cheery ex-con who creates a choir from the mixed group of lonely and poor people who turn up to eat Hazel’s pasta. Faith is the daughter of one of the regulars, Beth (played by the squirmingly unstable Susan Lynch), who is fighting court battles to prevent her child being taken into care.
Following earlier plays Beyond Caring and LOVE, Alexander Zeldin’s new play is another uncompromising theatrical experience that goes to the heart of our uncertain times. It is a beautifully gauged production. The cast is exemplary. The Dorfman becomes the community centre, engulfing us, swallowing us and startling us.
The piece shines a light on the resilience and humour of those struggling to survive and is an urgent account of the austerity age. An utterly necessary and deeply compassionate play with superb performances.
We loved it.