Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Wolf @ Salford Arts Theatre, 31.10.14

1956 theatre company have taken us on quite the journey over the past 4 weeks with their superb rep season. Starting in war time Britain, rock and rolling in 50s New York, to keeping up with multi-role playing in ‘The Lodger’ and reaching our final destination: Salford 1998. Wolf is the second original piece from the season and is written by the wonderfully talented Amy-Jane Ollies (who also acts as the company’s Artistic Director). Ollies has a fluid and natural style of writing inspired by Mancunian writer Simon Stephens. Stephens has insisted he “likes art that shines light into dark places,” which is evident with the content of his plays. Wolf is no different.

Telling the story of raw and intimate relationships between family, friends, lovers and forbidden territory, the narrative unravels a theme of an absence of truth and the dangers our little white lies can get us into. At the centre of the story is a family torn apart after the arrest of their eldest son Carl (Lee Lomas), and the lies they tell each other.

Julie Hannah gave a stunning performance as the mother Kate, as she desperately tries to keep her family together. She and Lomas have some beautiful moments as Kate visits Carl in prison and masks the truth as to why she remains his only visitor. We also see how the other family members are affected. Graham Eaglesham plays the silenced father lost for words and how to help. Nick, played by the versatile Bradley Cross, lies to his partner about visiting his brother, which nearly costs him his relationship. Ben Wolstenholme plays Paul, the youngest brother about to leave for uni and yearning for escape (another theme explored by Stephens writing.)

The most interesting and surprising twist comes from Ollies and her convincing portrayal of Samantha, the youngest sibling and only daughter of the family. Lost and lonely in the quiet chaos that disrupts her security within the family, she acts out of desperation for attention and love, causing a new wrath of grief and ultimately falls prey to the wolf.

The piece is gorgeously written and brilliantly executed, ultimately reminding us there is no such thing as a little white lie. Beware of the wolf!

Words: Kate Morris

Images: Courtesy of 1956 Theatre

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