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Grey Skies at The Warren Brighton Fringe – Review

Grey SkiesPerformed for the first time in Studio 2 at The Warren as part of the Brighton Fringe, Grey Skies is an hour-long play that is ultimately about choices – or rather, bad choices. When Lisa falls pregnant, her partner Danny goes to the extreme to provide for their family, with damaging consequences that quickly spiral out of control.

A band of young players, the ensemble gave an impressive performance – a last minute change of cast was barely noticeable, as Elizabeth Robin admirably stepped into one of the lead roles due to unforeseen circumstances. Her portrayal of Lisa, a woman caught in a desperate situation, brings a softness to the tale that evokes empathy from the audience, presenting questions that continue to resonate once the tale is over – what would you do in her situation?

On the other hand, it’s hard to root for anti-hero Danny, as he’s not particularly a nice chap. An exchange between Danny and Lisa seems to perfectly encapsulate this, as she struggles to put her finger on exactly why she was drawn to him in the first place.

Another notable performer is Joshua Oakes-Rogers – the actor brings humour and high-energy to his role of booze-fuelled, jobless Sam, who is arguably the villain of the piece. He’s a dominating character, frenetic and unpredictable as he takes advantage of his friends for his own selfish gain.

Simple staging of just a table and an armchair ensures that the focus is solely on the rapport between characters and the unfolding events. The use of the space was impressive at times – at one point, two separate scenes melded in a merge of tableau and live action, almost as if in a split-screen, which hammered home the heightening tension.

Occasionally, the piece is in danger of rumbling along to its conclusion a little too quickly, simply because the events unfold so very rapidly. Perhaps at moments of high emotion, the audience could use just a beat longer to digest the nuances of the story.

Nonetheless, it’s a solid show, which for me felt like a John Osborne-style kitchen-sink drama for a modern audience. Often darkly humourous and bawdy, a surprise appearance from a former leader of the Conservative party brought some much-appreciated light relief.

It also must be said that Studio 2 is a fabulous venue, that simultaneously feels atmospheric yet spacious. The gentle pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof of metal container, transformed into a theatre across the month for Brighton Fringe, felt like apt pathetic fallacy as the play drew to its tumultuous conclusion.

4 stars

Review by

Cue Productions brings you ‘Grey Skies’, a contemporary drama that follows Danny and Lisa as they struggle to make ends meet. After some unexpected news, watch our story unfold as our couple are forced down a dark path.

“I feel much more hopeful for the future of theatre after seeing such mature performances from such a young cast.” (RSC associate actor Hugh Quarshie on previous show ‘La Ronde’)

Suitability: 14+
21-22 May 13:00 26-27 May 20:45 £8.50(£7) 1hr 20m


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