MTC’s The Children: A Bloody Good Question Needs an Answer.
The atmosphere within that off-balanced living space in that old English cottage is downright tense. There is a bloody strong animosity hanging over these two older women as they politely play catch up in the Royal Court Theatre transfer of the play, The Children by Lucy Kirkwood (2017 National’s The Mosquitoes). The environment, eerily created by scenic and costume designer, Miriam Buether (Broadway’s A Doll’s House, Part 2) with the added power of Peter Mumford’s lighting and projection designs (Global Creature/Australia’s King Kong) and Max Pappenheim’s solid sound design (Hampstead’s Sex With Strangers), has an off-putting edginess to it, that makes it feel flooded with unsaid emotional baggage. It’s a quietly disturbing beginning as directed by James MacDonald (MTC’s Top Girls), and we are instantly engaged and desperate for an explanation for this troubled air. And it will come, but we will have to just sit back and wait it out.
The two women talk about their past and it becomes clearer and clearer that much time has passed since these two last saw each other. You can also tell each would have been just as happy to have a few more years go by before this reunion. Deborah Findlay who was ever so brilliant in one of my favorite plays of 2016, National’s Rules for Living, plays Hazel, the resident of this cottage, with whom she shares with her husband, Robin, played impeccably by Ron Cook (Donmar’s Juno and the Paycock). It’s clear that the visitor Rose, played with an edgy perfection by Francesca Annis (MIF/NYC’s The Machine), has come to see both Robin and Hazel, but the amicable bond is really with Robin. The three of them used to work at a nearby nuclear power plant together as engineers, but the real reason for Rose’s appearance at their cottage this fine morning remains to be said or understood. (for the full review, click here)