Winner of the 2017 Papatango Award Stewart Pringle’s Trestle is a two-handed play which through subtle, well-paced storytelling explores love and aging.
Set in the Temperance Hall in a small Yorkshire town; widower, Harry (Gary Lilburn) is chairman of the Billingham Improvement Committee and Denise (Connie Walker) is a Zumba teacher. The pair first meet when she arrives to prepare for her class as he is packing away his meeting. Their first meeting is awkward; however, the two soon look forward to their weekly encounters.
Gary Lilburn gives a strong performance as the reserved Harry. Lilburn’s delivery is first class and manages to convey an element of loneliness to his character. Connie Walker is just as strong, portraying the sparkier, yet sometimes vulnerable, floral legging-clad, Denise very well. Lilburn and Walker work well together and have great chemistry. Both also show excellent timing when delivering their lines. This helps give an element of believability to their characters’ situation.
Stewart Pringle’s writing is balanced and thoughtful helping to give an added believability to the piece. The writing, whilst deep at times, is well balanced. Both characters have some great lines including, my personal favourite, Harry’s “I’m a widower, not Dracula!”. Their play also provides some great visual moments including one where the normally conservatively dressed Harry, changes into shorts and vest to take part in one of Denise’s Zumba classes!
The production makes excellent use of the small stage area. Cathal Cleary’s direction is well paced and in keeping with the piece. Frankie Bradshaw’s set is simple and functional with a stunning piece of it hidden until the final moments.
Whilst there are quite a few scene changes these are seamlessly done by Richard Hammarton’s good use of sound and Johanna Town’s clever lighting. I enjoyed Trestle; it is thought-provoking and has a couple go clever twists before its heart-warming closing scene.
Review by Karen Pond
“We’re not here forever. You’ve got to take a chance from time to time. Sometimes you’ve got to see something you like and grab hold. Don’t let it go.”
Harry feels like life is beginning to tick down, his autumn years spent quietly caring for the community he loves. Denise thinks life begins in retirement and she’s dancing like she’s still at high school. When their paths cross at the village hall, their understanding of the time they have left changes irrevocably. What do community, growing old, and falling in love really mean? And who gets to decide anyway?
In its world premiere, Trestle tenderly but truthfully explores love and ageing, asking how we choose to live in the face of soaring life expectancies. It won the 2017 Papatango New Writing Prize from over 1000 entries, following in the footsteps of previous Prize-winners who have gone on to win BAFTAs and OffWestEnd Awards and premiere worldwide.
Director – Cathal Cleary
Designer – Frankie Bradshaw
Lighting Designer – Johanna Town
Sound Designer – Richard Hammarton
Harry – Gary Lilburn
Denise – Connie Walker
Papatango Theatre Company presents
by Stewart Pringle
1 – 25 NOV 2017