A Review of Thick As Thieves at Hull Truck Theatre

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Last night Thick as Thieves opened at Hull Truck Theatre. This political, emotional and thought-provoking play, was heartbreaking, raw and all consuming.

As a one act play, there was no rest-bite for the audience or the actors as we followed their emotional turmoil and pain. It truly was an incredible production.

Thick as Thieves is a new play by Katherine Chandler, directed by Ròisìn McBrinn and was commissioned by Clean Break Theatre and Theatr Clwyd.  The play is set in real-time, in an hour and half we see the women rake through their troubled past.

In this play we meet, two women from very different worlds: Karen has built a picture-perfect life while Gail struggles to keep hers together. When Gail re-enters Karen’s life from out of the blue she brings with her everything Karen has been running from… This tense, revealing play explores what it means to care for one another and asks who, in a time of increasing disconnect, we expect to look after us.

The production, cleverly pulls into question the care system, motherhood, addiction and the effects of emotional trauma. With elements of light and shade, playwright Katherine Chandler uses dark humour in some places to make the audience really think about these topics.

This play is not for the faint-hearted, the actors are incredible, and keep the audience in a heightened state of tension throughout.

Siwan Morris who plays Karen, brilliantly depicts a woman desperately trying to forget her childhood, building the façade of a perfect life around her. As the story reveals Karen’s childhood trauma, Morris expertly displays Karen’s struggle to bury her pain and anger, ultimately resulting in an explosion on violence.

In contrast, Polly Frame portrays Gail’s struggle to keep her life together, with a true frantic sense of desperation and sometimes even, naivety.

The staging of this production was minimal, with one desk to depict Karen’s office. What was particularly interesting about this production, was the way the floor began to move and destabilise thought the play. The floor that starts to tilt and give, arguably reflecting the destabilising effect of Gail’s return into Karen’s life.

Thick as Thieves, is a captivating, fast pace and emotional performance, portraying visible and hidden effects of trauma, and is not to be missed.

Clean Break Theatre set-up 1979 by two women prisoners who believed that theatre could bring the hidden stories of imprisoned women to a wider audience. Clean Break continues to inspire playwrights and captive audience with ground breaking plays on the complex theme of woman and crime.

Hull Truck continues to provide a brilliant space for the thought provoking and topical plays in Hull. Transforming Hull’s theatre scene, with its diverse programme of events.

There is still one last chance to see Thick as Thieves in Hull, tonight at 8pm in Hull Truck’s Studio Theatre. Tickets are £12.50.

To find out more about Thick as Thieves and the work Clean Break Theatre do click here.

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