Tamsin although barely a teenager herself, following the death of her mother, is left with the mammoth task of caring for her younger brother who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and who seldom leaves the bathroom and has issues with his use of hair gel. She must work a 10-hour shift in a packing warehouse to provide for them both and deal with the labyrinth of a benefits system that mistakenly says he is fit for work.
This play by Katherine Soper won the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and is a challenging 4 hander which relies heavily on making the characters recognisable to us all.
Anastasia Spence as Tamsin gave a mature performance showing us the anxiety-ridden girl trying to cope while being ‘boxed’ in by all her responsibilities. She gave a consummate and emotional performance and certainly made the character very relatable.
Max Taylor Saunders as Luke her work colleague and friend was thoroughly believable to watch as the temporary worker passing time prior to going to college and trying to give Tamsin the encouragement to make more of herself. Max had great interaction with Anastasia which made the story all the more emotional.
Meg Roswell as Petra the warehouse lead had a difficult role as she comes across as the aggressor who you think is out to penalise Tamsin but we realise throughout the play that she is simply doing her job to maintain her position.
However, it was Alexander Bloom who intrigued me the most. His portrayal of Dean, complete with tapping, ‘rituals’ and OCD behaviour was fascinating to watch. Every facial expression he gave told a story and like Tamsin, at times I could feel her frustration but also her need to protect him. This was a detailed and thorough performance and great credit to Alexander for submerging himself completely in the role.
This was a strong production and great credit to the team on delivering such a challenging play especially in today’s society where mental illness is such a hot topic.