REVIEW: random/generations, The Minerva Theatre, Chichester

For two very short plays, this double bill from Bafta and Olivier Award-winner debbie tucker green packs in a lot.

Friday, 11th May 2018, 11:07 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:18 am
Director Tinuke Craig in rehearsal for random/generations. Picture by Manuel Harlan

Both show loss in different ways - one by subtraction, the other multiplication – but both magnify the mundane to emotional effect.

generations kicks off the night: the half-hour erosion of a family, soundtracked by the beautiful voices of the South African Cultural Choir.

An everyday domestic scene of a family cooking dinner is repeated over and over, but each time a relation is subtracted – hinting at the African Aids epidemic.

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Their dialogue is taken out too, but those left speak the same words, creating the jarring effect of a record stuck on repeat.

It is an interesting dramatic experiment, but the showstopper is random: an unfiltered view of the day a family is torn apart by gang warfare, told by one actor playing all four relatives.

A rare thing which finds genuine humour even in the darkest moments, through hearing the minutiae of their everyday lives on that fateful day, you realise you know these people – and you could be them.

You laugh at the daughter raging about her vapid colleagues because you know them too; when the mother asks her daughter if she will be cold in that outfit, you have heard that before.

So when the unimaginable happens to their brother and son, you are right there with them.

Of course, the emotional payoff could not be delivered without a top talent: and Petra Letang earned every one of her standing ovations, mine included.

Worth a visit for the second half alone.

Until June 2.