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Wastwater - Tabard Theatre, Chiswick, London'

Simon Stephens's play 'Wastwater' premiered at that old home of cutting edge theatre, The Royal Court, in 2011. It's currently being given a run at Chiswick's Tabard Theatre, by Two Shillings and Sixpence Productions. 

Wastwater, which is a lake in the Lake District, and not a spelling mistake (although try telling that to iPhone autocorrect!) comprises three distinct stories, with two characters apiece. My husband, proclaiming the undeniably fantastic performances, didn't see that the three stories were interconnected; although interconnected may be a strong word - more like tiny ripples extending from each piece into the next. 

The last time I saw a play at Tabard, it was by the same company - and another of Stephens's - Bluebird, which delivered an incredibly poignant performance by Mark Griffin. Griffin too, had his part in Wastewater, in the third story of the piece, in which he played a man adopting a child. Griffin's performances are extraordinary for the vulnerability he manages to inhabit and convey - one wouldn't usually expect such nuance and poignancy from a man as bulked up as he is (he also plays action heroes and was also a Gladiator!)

Selina Giles performed an intense role in the middle piece; a northern policewoman (child protection) who is also an ex-heroin addict and porno actress. One particular moment manages to deliver tragedy, pathos, humour, and confusion all at the same time. Her pairing in the piece with the play's director, Christien Anholt, delivers a naturally fizzy and credible chemistry. 

Jennifer Hanah plays a foster mother in the first story, and I have to say, for any theatre company, is a remarkable find. I recall her playing three very different roles in Bluebird, and her delivery is engaging and believable. To claim that she's a versatile actress is something of an understatement. I hope that she is snapped up for big, meaty character roles in the not too distant future. 

Wastwater runs until 4 June 2016. Buy tickets here.

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-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-


And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised

***


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston Universi…