A Miracle

Posted on: 06 April 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Laurence Green reviews A Miracle – Molly Davies’ impressive first full length play at the Jerwood Theatre.


The yearning for a better life is the one factor that the disparate characters all share in Molly Davies’ impressive first full length play A Miracle at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court.

This is a work which explores two currently hot topics - teenage pregnancy and the neglect of British soldiers while on duty and at home. Amy, 19, who trained as a hairdresser, now works in a chicken-nugget factory, a job which she hates, and she has a one-year-old baby daughter for whom she has no time and hardly cares about and whom she has left in the care of her grandmother.

Gary, also 19, who trained as a carpenter and joiner, returns on sick leave after spending two years with the Army in Iraq, although his suicidal father believes he has come back for good to help with the struggling pig farm. Amy and Gary strike up a sexual relationship, yet both are too immature to cope with the responsibilities they face. But they still fantasise about the kind of life they want and the type of people they want to be.

Essentially the play is about hope and disillusionment and care and neglect and carries a particular resonance in our troubled times. However, despite the pessimism of the piece, Davies manages to introduce a certain humanity and quirky humour into the proceedings. A good example is when Amy’s grandmother says to the baby in the pram, “I could tell ya a few truths… a tale of kids playing adults, of girls who say ‘I don’t worry about HIV. I only sleep with boys from Suffolk’”.

Lyndsey Turner eschews romanticism or sentimentality in favour of hard edged realism – muddy, post foot and mouth Norfolk is strongly evoked in Patrick’s Burnier’s stage in the round.

But it is the performance that director Turner coaxes from her excellent cast that really bring this short but absorbing drama so vividly to life, in particular Kate O’Flynn’s desperately vulnerable Amy, Russel Tovey’s clearly disturbed Gary, as well as Gerard Horan as his father, a man who has fallen on hard times and Sorcha Cusack as the grandmother holding the fort.

This then is a work which remains implanted in the mind long after leaving the theatre.

When: Plays until 21st March 2009
Where: Jerwood Theatre, London
Box Office: 0207 565 5000

By Laurence Green

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