Image courtesy of Anthony Timothy
I’ve headed back out to the Big Top Tent, friends.
The call of the theatre is just too strong for me to deny, I fear, as I once more arrived at Theatr Clwyd in sunny North Wales to partake in yet another fabulous play inside their Roundabout pop-up tent.
This time around, my girlfriend and I were treated to a tale of friendship, betrayal, lives forever intertwined, and love untold; for this time around, I was treated to the wonderful Out of Love by Elinor Cook.
To be a girl and have/keep a friend must be hard, I imagine.
From my own experiences, the vast majority of women in my own life typically have maybe one or two “friends” they can depend on.
Odds-are, again in my experience on the subject, their best friends tend to be their partners.
I’m not sure why in every instance, and maybe it’s just in my close circle of loved ones, so I can’t say for certain that it is a universal truth; one that, if my knowledge is anything to go by, would mean there are billions of women around the world with no-one to call a friend outside of their partner.
This may sound like the world’s worst tangent, but I believe it ties back to the story of Out of Love incredibly well.
The story revolves around the lives of two girls, neighbours for a while, but best friends seemingly for life.
Lorna (played by Sally Messham) and Grace (played by Katie Elin-Salt) grew up together – something we see play out in parts throughout the play. They had a bond that went further than neighbours, further than girls of the same age, Hell, even further than being girls. They were friends.
Their lives were so interconnected that Lorna’s step-father warns Lorna over a number of times Grace comes over to the house – perhaps a little foreshadowing on his behalf?
As the pair grow and enter adolescence, they experience the wonders and horrors of a typical teenage life – sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, the loss of innocence, and trying to figure out your own place in the world.
Through a series of events that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, Lorna – who throughout the play was seen as the more reckless youth with – manages to go to University.
Grace, whilst initially on the same path as Lorna, has to deal with the crippling loss of a teenage true love and goes to see him one more time. Unfortunately, she winds up getting pregnant mere days before the two friends were due to go to University together.
So, from a relationship where both individuals did next to everything together, to a stark future that sees one going onwards to bettering herself, and another fear she has thrown her life away and slips into what she always saw herself as being; worthless.
The play is powerful and emotional, with one scene in particular nearly bringing myself to tears (I don’t really cry unless there’s a really good reason to, but some of the topics discussed in this scene hit home for me).
That tangent I went on earlier, about women and their friends? I just realised I’ve not really addressed why it links to the story of Out of Love.
Whilst my experience on the subject has meant that some women may have one close friend in their childhood, for instance, but then, as they age, the pair part ways.
In Out of Love, whilst Lorna and Grace go their separate ways, they find themselves time and again, almost like it’s their destiny to be together, despite what life may throw at them.
Image courtesy of Anthony Timothy. From left to right; Katie Elin-Salt, Sally Messham, Hasan Dixon, and director James Grieve.
The trio of Katie Elin-Salt, Sally Messham, and Hasan Dixon work wonders together – though anyone who watched Black Mountain and How to be a Kid would already know this.
In the bare stage of the Roundabout’s inner circle, it is up to us, the audience, to create the scenery and props, with Katie, Sally, and Hasan working their magic to coincide with our sets.
Paines Plough, Orange Tree Theatre, and Theatr Clwyd proudly present their world premiere rendition of Elinor Cook’s Out of Love, directed by James Grieve.
For more information on the production, including how to buy tickets, you can visit Theatr Clwyd’s website. Tickets cost £15 (or £13 concession), though I must warn you, there is only one more performance to be held in Theatr Clwyd before the team roll out to Edinburgh on the 4th August.
So, needless to say, act fast friends.