Royal Exchange Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 29th September 2017 by Sebastian Singh
Photo Credit: Royal Exchange Theatre
Natural, raw and beautifully ordinary, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town follows the story of Emily and George, two normal teenagers in a small American town at the turn of the last century. It is a three-act play that follows everyday life in the town and touches on subjects such as love, birth and death.
Sarah Frankcom has once again directed a thought-provoking play that sits the audience, quite literally, in the middle of the performance. Every performance has 35 on-stage seats available that allows them to feel integrated in the show, making the audience consider how much this fictional town was like their own.
This show is stripped back but very effective, thanks to Fly Davis’ minimalistic set, moving the staging around for every act and including a visually stunning snow scene that heightens the emotions of that particular scene. This play is very aware that it is a performance, which to some theatregoers, may feel unnatural. During the first two acts, Frankcom effectively makes the audience become active participants in the town’s seemingly normal and everyday goings on. However, Act Three sees a gear change in the performance which catches the audience unaware and packs an emotional punch. The audience are made to think about the fragility of life and learning to love every moment: something which is beautifully captured in this piece.
The whole cast integrated well with each other, making the town feel very much like a place that every audience member grew up in. It takes something rather special to come across as normal and ordinary but by the end, have the audience really considering what that means, especially to themselves.
Norah Lopez Holden as Emily Webb produces a stunning performance. Young, energetic and full of love, she captures the wonderful nature of young love alongside Patrick Elue as George Gibbs. However, it is in Act Three where she excels in character, producing a raw and gripping stand-out performance!
This piece of theatre is different to many things that you may have seen but I highly recommend that you give it a go!
This production is running until Saturday 14th October 2017.