THEATRE AT HOME REVIEW: Bound ★★★★
Southwark Playhouse, London
Wednesday 28th September - Saturday 22nd October 2011
Originally performed underneath London Bridge Station back in 2011, where The Southwark Playhouse was situated until it’s move to its current home in Elephant & Castle back in 2013, Bound is a play which solely focuses on the lives of the brave men who venture out to sea, battling choppy seas and risking their lives just so they can provide food and shelter for those loved ones back on the mainland.
As a polish worker recruited by an agency to join a team of five strong men, Kerdzic (Thomas Bennett) is highlighted as our device to get to know the team of trawlers a little bit more, as Kerdzic meets them one by one; all recent graduates of East 15 Acting School Acting school when the play was premiered in 2011, the six men as a collective stand out with maturity and gravitas in their performances, taking you to that moment of reminding yourself that they are just actors on a stage underneath a tube station, telling myself this especially when watching through this streamed performance on my laptop.
James Crocker as John, John McKeever as Woods, Joe Darke as Graham, Alan Devally as Alan, and Daniel Foxsmith as Rhys, all share a connection on stage as the boat’s crew that puts layers on their history as a team together, and having all trained, including Thomas Bennett, this clearly shows on stage through their chemistry, which is perfect for Jesse Briton’s play which heightens these characters nerves and trust for each other as the production progresses; when the strand hits that they are about to embark on a gale force storm of over 10, you know that you’re in for a choppy ride.
Briton’s script is beautifully balanced in being able to write Kerdzic as a man who weaves his way into the group so naturally, with a real moment of joy and laugh-out-loud comedy when he mocks Graham’s (Joe Darke) cooking ability in front of his trawler team below the decks, and we see Kerdzic slowing becoming a real part of the team. Juggling this with serious edge-of-your-seat compelling material also comes in heaps of creativity from Buddug Jones’ limited design of a table and a few chairs, mixed with Seth Rook William’s Lighting in the final few scenes of the play, as the crews strength to battle the seas and risk their lives is truly tested; with a force of light reduced to a winging edison bulb above the company as they enter into the night at the heart of the storm, any moment of silence can be felt in waves, as we hold our breaths to figure out the outcome, and the ambiguous ending leaving us with an imagination of our own.
Overall, Bound is a play where at its heart is a story of a selective family who chose to brave all they’ve got to work together for what may be the very last time, and getting an insight into their history, from misky pasts to raucous behaviour. Through the voices of six strong meale performers, Briton’s script and direction excels in transporting us on the waves with the crew, caring for their humour and the unknowing journey that lies ahead for them, right up to the traditional songs which weave throughout the production’s scene changes, and leave you reeling on it’s final note of the climax, as the harmony’s echo around the space.
You can Stream the production of Bound by Clicking Here.