THEATRE AT HOME REVIEW: Suzy Storck ★★★
The Gate Theatre, London
Thursday 26th October - Saturday 18th November 2017
Streaming until Tuesday 30th June, Caoilfhionn Dunne takes on the titular role of Suzy Storck, and once again, after watching The Hampstead’s archived production of Wild not too long ago, continues here to amaze with such a plethora of emotion that feels like a rapid switchboard that Dunne never lets up. Furthermore, Dunne’s abilities completely drive Chris Campell’s translated piece from Magali Mougel’s story of a woman feeling trapped in her marriage and the demons that live inside of her, to such subtlety.
With themes of parenting neglect and alcoholism at play, Jean-Perre Baro’s direction is mostly conveyed through a naturalistic form, with Cécile Trémolières’ chaotic and crowded design of children’s toys flooded everything onto the settings floor soon indicating an intriguing scene change which got the whole audience up on their feet in the process to help clear the space, which is the second time The Gate have used it’s audience in such a vital way, following on from the wine and food sharing in The Unknown Island. Minimalism is also key to Storks' location, which is mainly set within Suzy’s household, as tables for example transform into a double bed, in a scene during the latter moments of the 75 minute production that utilises Christopher Naire’s lighting to an organic feeling.
Aside from Dunne, the rest of the company (Kate Duchéne, Jonah Russell, and Theo Solomon) barely make an impact in a piece which could easily of been conveyed through a one-hander and still kept the whole intensity, as this is merely all drawn from Dunne’s capability; this though is not at the fault of the remaining company, it is simply a case of the performance piece not allow the ensemble characters to drive the story in any way, with Suzy constantly becoming the focus, with her relationships not fully fleshed to an extent that warrants them any credit.
Overall, whilst Caoilfhionn Dunne puts in an astounding performance in the titular role, with a clear arc courtesy of Chris Campell's writing, the background characters and some direct wobbles in most parts to fall into an unsteady conclusion, that rather then gives off the shock factor, leaves you utterly bereft of needing something more sustainable.