There are two powerful themes running throughout Reckless; The Sea, and Love. Sometimes the two themes run parallel and sometimes they merge into one, fusing into a deep, overwhelming love of the sea. This passion clearly originates with Co-Director and writer Rebecca Rogers, but it translates beautifully into her characters. She also sets out to explore how such a positive emotion as love can so easily transmute into fear, possessiveness and anger.
Ambitious and weighty topics for a one hour play, but by and large she achieves her goals. The timeline jumps back and forth, exploring the origins of the behaviours we are witnessing in the present day, the joys and sadnesses emphasised by live music and nicely choreographed movement pieces.
The dark, echoing, waters of the semi-excavated Rose Playhouse are cleverly transformed into the ocean, and we are on an island in the middle of it, watching the inhabitants. Notable among these are the local landlord; a man whose wife drowned years ago, taking all of his joy with her into the grave. The Old Man now regards the treacherous sea as his eternal enemy, just waiting to snatch from him his remaining loved one, his son. The Boy has therefore been brought up to fear and mistrust the ocean, and to feel responsible for his mother’s death, as she died saving him. He is forbidden from consorting with the locals, particularly the rather unusual Harbour Master; however, the unexpected arrival on the island of a wild young Girl turns his safe, comfortable life upside-down with quite extraordinary results.
Amy Harris’ inventive, simple set makes good use of the available space, while Jon Buckeridge’s music and Luke Pajak’s sound are so evocative of the sea that one can almost smell the salt in the air. There are even seagulls flying around the place, stealing sandwiches. Rebecca Rogers herself plays the Harbour master, and her love for and understanding of coastal life shine through in her eyes and her voice. Blake Kubena as Old Man is equally good, vibrating with suppressed rage and fear, although he looked surprisingly young for the role. I would have liked to have witnessed more of his final breakdown; I felt that he was halted mid-journey, which was a shame as I am sure that it would have been spectacular. It would also have helped to give the final scene a little more impact. Boy was all innocence and stammering goodwill, although Simon Rodda occasionally overplayed the gormlessness a little, especially in his scenes with the sparkling, trenchant Alison Tennant, playing Girl. Edward Bijl was a comic delight as the Lighthouse Keeper, but his role in the shocking denouement was slightly underplayed; a greater emphasis on his change of demeanour would have lent the story more menace. Nevertheless, the play was engrossing from start to finish, and the abrupt ending felt almost like a physical blow.
It is always a privilege to spend time in the Rose Playhouse, permeated as it is with such exalted dramatic history and atmosphere. To see such an enjoyable play by an exciting new theatre company is really the icing on the cake.
Review by Genni Trickett
RECKLESS BY REBECCA ROGERS
Presented by Heady Conduct Theatre Company
September 3, 2015 – September 27, 2015
Shoulders rounded against the storm, he strides along the wind ripped shore, clothes snapping around him like the sails of a storm-borne ship. He searches, he shouts, but the sea has caught him out once again.”
An Old Man who lost his love to the sea, brings up his son to fear it. When the unexpected washes up on their shore, time worn secrets begin to unwind.
Reckless is an epic story of outrageous love and forbidden joy, exploring the timeless matters of the heart. Inspired by the great works of classical drama, Heady Conduct has blended elements of Greek and Elizabethan storytelling into this original piece of theatre.
Heady Conduct Theatre is excited to be working with The Rose Playhouse, Bankside. Situated in the heart of Southwark, this historic theatre was hosting new, innovative work 400 years ago. Heady Conduct are proud to be continuing this tradition with Reckless.
Join us for this exciting piece of new writing by Rebecca Rogers, writer and director of ‘Love Struck’.
Running time is around an hour with no interval
Wednesday 9th September 2015