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Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

Death is something we all will face. After all, nobody gets out of here alive. But how do you get past it when grief is all you can feel? And this is the premise of Tiger, currently playing at Omnibus Theatre . It's a fascinating exploration of the stages of grief. And with a terrific cast to take you on this journey, it's an endearing and sweet story that has you engaged from the start, wondering what will happen next.  We are introduced to Alice (Poppy Allen-Quarmby) as she gives a stand-up routine. It's not particularly funny and starts to veer into the topic of dying. Something isn't right. She used to be good at this but can't move forward. Soon, she is back in her London apartment with her partner Oli (Luke Nunn), discussing that they need to get a lodger to make ends meet.  Oli is a doctor working night shifts at the local NHS hospital. Alice is not ready to face a return to stand up or anything. So when the first potential lodger arrives (Meg Lewis), looking

Love is all you need: The Island @cervantesthtr

A drama set on the seventh floor of a non-descript hospital waiting room may not be everyone's idea of a great night at the theatre. But love and all other forms of the human condition are dissected in Juan Carlos Rubio's The Island. Translated by Tim Gutteridge, it feels like everything is up for grabs. What is love? Is it a bond between two women with a fifteen-year age gap? Is it the love between a mother and her son with a severe unknown disability? A wonderful life full of health and happiness is not always an option on the menu, and the choices may become a bit less palatable.

Throughout a series of sometimes banal conversations, what comes out is a story of two women with lives that are separate and together. And while the piece becomes darker on one level as it progresses, it never ceases to fascinate and draw further insights into the couples. It's currently playing at the Cervantes Theatre

A couple waits in a hospital waiting room for the outcome of an accident with their son. But over the discussions about lousy coffee and age gaps, it becomes clear that there is something more than the potential loss of their son at stake here. There is the fragile nature of a relationship between two people. There is the resilience and resourcefulness of two people wanting to maintain the status quo. And there are also some pretty frank depictions about what being a mother can be. 

The cast is like two islands, as described in the play. Coexisting and cohabitating. But not necessarily together. It's fascinating to watch as both evolve throughout the piece. The mother, Rebecca Crankshaw, is harrowing as she recounts the events leading up to the accident as if it were just another ordinary thing. Rebecca Banatvala, the younger woman in the relationship, provides a strong and stable character at first, but then you watch her crumble as events take a surprising turn. 

It is a small-scale drama that feels epic in scope by the end of it as it delves into darker feelings about human nature. But one that is a revelation all the same. 

Directed by Jessica Lazar, The Island is at The Cervantes Theatre until 21 October. 


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