Venue: Drama Barn
Director: Anna Pinkstone and Sally Daniels
Starring: Alex Forysth, James Quelch, Jonathan Kerridge-Phipps, Victoria Lloyd, Tom Ellis, Ned Roberts
If simmering masculine aggression and perverse sexuality is your kind of theatre then The Homecoming is just what you’re looking for this weekend. Just don’t expect a happy, or even explicable, resolution to this particular play.
What begins as a fairly standard living room drama about the strained relationships between widower father Max (Alex Forsyth), brother Sam (James Quelch) and sons Joey (Tom Ellis) and Lenny (Jonathan Kerridge-Phipps), takes a bizarre twist with the ‘homecoming’ of a prodigal third child Teddy (Ned Roberts) and his ‘nymphomaniac’ wife Ruth (Victoria Llyod). The action that ensues constantly evades the audience’s expectations, resulting in a plot that disturbs, confuses and amuses in equal measure.
A particular highlight is the scene in which Ruth and Joey writhe on the floor in a lusty embrace, casually observed by Teddy and the rest of the family. Another involves Lenny’s outraged reaction to the discovery that Teddy has eaten his sandwich, creating a humorous contrast to the previously muted scene in which Lenny had openly helped himself to Teddy’s wife.
Kerridge-Phipps is consistently entertaining, successfully imbuing his misogynistic, would-be pimp character with a subtle mix of menace and bathos. Forsyth is also worth a watch for his deft embodiment of a sixty year old man with the help of those age old theatrical devices: talcum powder, a walking stick and a big cigar.
The dialogue is a weird mix of the filthy and the lofty, thanks to Teddy’s incongruous vocation as a doctor of Philosophy and the rest of the families’ clichéd cockney bawdiness. The result is that the character’s conversations can, at times, become strangely reminiscent of drunken nights in a student bar. Whilst there may not be much to smile about with this play, therefore, there is plenty to question, making it perfect food for thought in Vanbrugh afterwards.
The Homecoming runs from Friday through Sunday at 7:30PM in the Drama Barn.