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Peacefully at Home by Nicola Schofield at Taurus Bar, Manchester

Published by: Caroline May on 7th Apr 2011 | View all blogs by Caroline May
Playwright Nicola Schofield was one of the earliest talents to emerge from the Royal Exchange/Bruntwood new writing competition with her script, Maybe Tomorrow.  Now award-winning theatre company Organised Chaos Productions has seized the opportunity to stage her latest piece, a tense drama called Peacefully at Home.

A lingering and painful deathbed is the classic situation which has brought together a sundered family, leading to scenes of conflict as long-buried secrets come to the surface.  Bridget, the seemingly devoted wife of the dying man, is joined by her old friend Una; and practical, stay-at-home son Chris meets up with his very different brother, James, who in spite of being the dreamer was the one who escaped from the country to the big city.

Nicola Schofield skilfully sets up an apparently close and devoted family which then falls apart before our eyes; the shocks keep coming right up to the very last moment.

In their brief scenes together Lee Joseph as Chris and Chris Brett as James create a genuine mood of long-standing intimacy and brotherly affection.  The most impressive performance comes from Laura Littlewood as James’s smug yummy-mummy wife Sarah.  There is real truth in the writing of this character, and Laura Littlewood plays her with conviction and confidence. 
 
Set designer Jonathan Ingham creates an economical yet suggestive staging for the comfortable and attractive family garden.  Director Emma Hatcher is faithful to the drama’s ebbs and flows, letting the characters develop at a leisurely pace - however the play could do with some judicious trimming because there isn’t enough story to justify its current length. 

While not quite as successful as last winter’s production of Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, Organised Chaos should be congratulated for continuing to champion new writing and local acting talent.

Peacefully at Home
Presented by Organised Chaos Productions
Taurus Bar, Canal Street, Manchester
Wed 6 - Sat 9 April 2011 @ 8pm (7pm on Thurs 7)
£7.50/£5.50 (conc)
www.organisedchaosproductions.co.uk

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