The River: "a tightly directed performance, well suited to an intimate setting in the round."
Jez Butterworth shot to theatrical fame with Jerusalem, a play about the charismatic West Country (Pewsey, actually) Rooster Byron, played by the equally charismatic Mark Rylance.
The River somewhat mines a similar seam with another strong male in a bucolic setting, which in this instance is an isolated fishing hut overlooking a river.
The sea trout are running and there’s a magnificent sunset as the play opens. The man (excellently played by Nicky Wilkins) is concerned with the arrival of the trout, whilst the woman wants him to watch the sunset. Thus the play proceeds with a pair of interchangeable lovers wondering if they are the one, while the man is really in love with the river and fishing.
No names are given to the characters, just man and woman. Hannah Smyth and Hayley Fitton-Cook play the contrasting girlfriends well, one disliking fishing, while the other possibly drowns, but the driving force remains the almost mythical river.
What’s it all about? Well you’ll have to see it and work that out for yourself in this tightly directed performance, well suited to an intimate setting in the round.