Robert Tanitch reviews The Believers at Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn, London NW6
There are acts of God by God and there are acts of God as described in insurance policies. Either way there are no winners.
There are two sets of parents: one Christian, the other atheist. The Christians (Richard Mylan and Penny Layden) take the atheists (Christopher Colquhoun and Eileen Walsh) into their home when the atheists’ house is waterlogged during a flood.
There are also two children, who remain off-stage. One is a disturbed 9-year-old girl, a walking nightmare, an accident-waiting-to-happen. The other is a beautiful child, a bundle of joy.
A child dies. Who is responsible? Bryony Lavery’s play is about good and evil, blind faith, the efficacy of prayer and the shattering of religious belief. Scott Graham, artistic director and founder of Frantic Assembly, says the play is about the dangers of a closed mind and the potential of the impressionable mind.
It is not always clear what is going on; and deliberately so. The interest lies mainly in the way Lavery’s spare and fractured text is performed. Scott Graham’s cleverly choreographed production, designed by John Bausor and lit by Andy Purves, gives the frenetic nature of the characters a new perspective with its constantly shifting geometric patterns, which are created by hand-moveable metal frames and long strips of fluorescent lighting.
The actors are observed from strange and sometimes seemingly gravity-defying raked angles. The optical illusions are amazing.