Power Games. "Blue Remembered Hills" by Dennis Potter. Brink Productions. [review]
Bramwell, Murray Ross
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In this Brink Productions version, director John O’ Hare has shown that the play works every bit as well on stage as it does in the Forest of Dean . Co-designed by O’Hare and Justin Pennington the set has a stylised mound at centre stage which is given vegetation by sprays of greens and browns from lighting designer Mark Pennington. There is a pool at the edge of the stage where luckless victims get periodic dunkings, ropes hang like lianas waiting for Tarzan swoops, while at the back, at mezzanine level, is the hayloft where the eventual tragedy unfolds. As ever, Brink has gathered an able team. William Allert as Willie and Syd Brisbane as Peter have the daunting task of establishing much of the initial detail. When Audrey, portrayed with fierce energy by Lizzie Falkland, and Rebecca Havey’s seductively manipulative Angela, play mothers and fathers with Donald, they echo the abrasive language of their own parents- the men bellowing orders, the women argumentative and scolding. No sooner has one game dissolved into sulking and tears then another combination reconvenes. After Peter has been beaten by John, staunchly represented by David Mealor, he reasserts himself against Donald (an inventive Justin Ractliffe) using his hated nickname, Donald Duck. Potter shows the teasing to be as relentless as it is arbitrary and cruel.