Parliament Square – Review
‘How far would you go for what you believe in?’
One morning Kat gets up and leaves her husband and young daughter behind for London, to pursue a cause that will change her life and, hopefully, everyone else’s forever. This astonishing and compelling play by James Fritz is a story of moral agency, and hammers home the universal truth that all actions can have severe consequences.
The play won a Judges Award in the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. This coarse, unsettling yet incredibly moving show commands that the audience come face to face with some of the most crucial debates that we are up against as a society. It questions how just one person can effect political and social change, and how far they should really go for what they believe in.
Esther Smith, best known for her television work in Uncle and Cuckoo, provides a pure master class in acting as leading lady Kat. Her ability in her range from a seemingly quirky and funny young woman to someone who is battling with her internal obsession to do something utterly beyond all comprehension is more than impressive.
Lois Chimimba, best known for BBC’s Trust Me and National Theatre’s Live: Peter Pan, plays Kat’s conscience and also her daughter in the latter half of the play. She is the perfect choice for the voice inside Kat’s head at the beginning of the show. The chemistry between the two actresses is outstanding and the comedy and quick dialogue thrown backwards and forwards between them make for fantastic theatre.
Another stand out performance comes from Joanne Howarth as Kat’s mother. A beautifully captivating, funny and raw performance of a real-life mother trying to come to terms with the consequences of her daughters actions. Seraphina Beh also put in an honest and meaningful portrayal of Catherine, another character who endures a mental transformation throughout the play.
Directed by Jude Christian, the minimalist action allows the truthfulness of the script to penetrate through. There are some incredible moments including sequences through time that are directed so cleverly and in such a way that the audience travel with the action without the pace and sincerity of the piece dropping at any point.
The set, by designer Fly Davis, was also beautifully minimal and worked perfectly in the round. A show such as this with such a strong message was complimented by the subtlety and simplicity of the set, with clever use of sound and lighting also being used to reinforce the passage of time and moving between locations.
This is a must see for any age of theatre goer. It is a dynamic, pithy and critical play that speaks out against injustice and asks whether a political protest of this nature can really make a difference, or just disappear against the back drop of mad, violent action that we are so used to hearing about everyday.