BWW Review: NINE NIGHT, Trafalgar Studios
Natasha Gordon's glorious writing debut, under Roy Alexander Weise's direction, transfers to the West End, managing to retain all of the magic it held whilst on the Dorfman stage. Following the story of how a family grieve, it's a play full of laughter, struggle and hope.
Celebrating Jamaican culture, the play signifies the Caribbean traditions that occur once someone has passed. Over nine days and nights, we watch several people mourn in different ways. Some drink, others cry and a few block it out from reality. There's a terrific sadness to each of them, as nobody wishes to confront their true feelings.
Like before, Weise has drawn out some fantastic performances. He has a knack for knowing how to land Gordon's unflinching comedy, whilst at the same time he does the work so that we see the character's pain. The stage is beaming with energy and the ball never drops. His choices are delicious and create some really exciting moments to witness.
One of the real treats of the transfer is that this time Gordon also stars in her tale, pulling out a very impressive performance. Naturally, it's totally different to that of Franc Ashman's all those months ago, and this contrasting approach gives the play a whole other meaning. Gordon's Lorraine is internally destroyed, suppressing her emotions until everything is unleashed in a dramatic finale.
The rest of the company shine in many ways, each doing their bit to ensure that every artistic intention lands. There's so much joy amidst the heartbreak, and distress amongst the celebration. Bring something totally unique to the theatrical landscape, Nine Night is a compelling watch.
Photo credit: Helen Murray