SHALLOW SLUMBER @ SOHO THEATRE REVIEW

Tackling the taboo subject of Post Natal-Depression, Shallow Slumber makes for a truly compelling watch…

Written by award winning playwright and social worker Chris Lee, the play challenges the perceptions of social workers and post natal-depression sufferers by carving out three-dimensional characters.

Shallow Slumber is a piece looking at the roller coaster of a relationship between Social Worker Moira and young mother Dawn. Alexandra Gilbreath’s characterisation of the social worker Moira is strongly maternal yet it is clear that she internally struggles with the need to remain professional. As for Amy Cudden’s portrayal of Dawn a young mother, her performance is powerful, continually shifting from defiance to display her inner turmoil. The director’s choice to use traverse staging (catwalk) was very brave. A choice in which I believe had its strengths as well as its weaknesses.

At times, I could only see one of the two performers and reactions were lost. However this gave me a chance to really listen to the words, which were fantastically written and delivered. The strength of the staging was that it really accentuated the constant battle of minds between the two characters. Highlighting that life is not as simple and that nobody is perfect. The simple staging, lighting and costume again highlighted the fact that the topic alone was powerful enough that it didn’t need any gimmicks. Chris Lee’s writing is a winner, marrying realism, wit, poeticism and when you least expect it, the killer line that knocks you for six. The awkward silences really speak volumes, and I can safely say that I was near tears by its conclusion. For this reason, I give shallow Slumber an 8.5/10.

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