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BWW Review: MOMENT OF GRACE, The Actors Centre

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BWW Review: MOMENT OF GRACE, The Actors Centre

BWW Review: MOMENT OF GRACE, The Actors CentreIt's 1987 and the AIDS crisis is peaking in the United Kingdom. Paranoia has pushed people to stigmatise and shun the diseased for fear of contagion even after it was proved that the virus couldn't be transmitted by touch alone. To challenge public opinion and to prove a point, Diana Princess of Wales visits patients at London's first AIDS Unit. The photo, picturing her shaking hands with one of them without wearing gloves, entered history.

Inspired by this occasion, playwright Ben Gosling wrote Moment of Grace, which was due to run at the Tristan Bates Theatre in association with The Actors Centre and the National HIV Story Trust. This year's disastrous events didn't stop Gosling from putting out the tale, which was reimagined for the screen and shot remotely with no crew.

The result is quite impressive, all things considered. We follow as three characters - played by Lucy Walker-Evans, Luke Dayhill, and Andrew Paul - recount the worries and expectations that the royal visit bore. As they lead up to the crucial moment they see Diana, they paint the picture of a Britain broken by prejudice and fear.

Directed by Nicky Allpress, the film runs just under one hour and ends up being rather human in its limitations. The confessional-type of shots do the trick and turn the viewer into a confidante of sorts. Gosling's writing is intimate throughout, but the pace of the piece has its peaks and valleys through a screen.

The constraints of the medium impact the story only relatively, but become exceptionally evident when you single out its overly moody and dramatic cutaways. These questionable inserts alter the visual leitmotifs of Moment of Grace and throw it off balance when it comes to the cohesion of its colour grading, marginally lowering the quality.

The addition of these images is understandable to an extent, as they break up the single-shot self-tape look of the film, but they edge towards a light tackiness that strays from the glossy and personal approach of the monologues.

It's emotional and delivered well even with its number of shortcomings, and one wonders how the original project might have looked on stage. This said, there's no doubt Moment of Grace cements an event that many might have forgotten or may not know happened altogether.

You can watch Moment of Grace here.

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From This Author Cindy Marcolina