Living pretty: Nightfall @_Bridgetheatre
Living in the country never looked better than in the sumptuousproduction of Nightfall. This play about life in rural Hampshire is currently playing at the Bridge Theatre. Desginer Rae Smith has created a farm backdrop that is beauty to behold even before any of the actors speak. Which is just as well since the night I saw it the show was delayed as one of the actors was caught in a very urban predicament: delays on the London transport network. Chis Davey’s lighting also evokes the sunsets over Hampshire.
But looks are deceiving as nobody wants to be there. Dad’s dead and left a pile of debt. The son, Ryan (Sion Daniel Young) is trying to make the farm work by siphoning off oil from a pipeline that cuts through the property. His best mate Pete (Ukweli Roach) is out of and jail helping him with his criminal enterprise. The daughter, Lou (Ophelia Lovibond) is drifting in and out of jobs and a relationship. And mum (Claire Skinner) would rather just lounge about, barefoot, drinking a fine white wine.
There are so many contrivances that happen over the course of the piece that you could easily forget that it also doesn’t feel like its set on a farm. Unless rural decline is the result of ambivalence to farming.
It feels much more like the urban angst you’d find in Crouch End rather than rural Hampshire. Writer Barney Norris keeps things light and amusing, but you’ll struggle with finding much more here about life on the land. It does looks like it could be fabulous. And just like city living with all those drinks outside and nibbles from Marks and Spencer.
Directed by Laurie Sansom, Nightfall is at the Bridge Theatre, London’s newest and loveliest-looking theatre, until 26 May.
Production photos by Manuel Harlan