Vincent River, Park Theatre, theatre review: ‘solace in the catharsis of story-telling’

'A clear rapport': Lousie Jameson (who also played Leela in Dr Who) and Thomas Mahy in Vincent River. Photographs: David Monteith Hodge

‘A clear rapport’: Lousie Jameson (who also played Leela in Dr Who) and Thomas Mahy in Vincent River. Photographs: David Monteith Hodge

Knowing and understanding are two very different things, and Vincent River offers a timely exploration of the gap between finding out that something has happened and making sense of it.

Philip Ridley’s 80-minute single-act play about his native East End forms part of Park Theatre’s edgy season of productions on themes of transgression and identity.

Directed by Robert Chevara, the drama revolves around young Davey (Thomas Mahy) and middle-aged Anita (Louise Jameson) whose lives become unexpectedly intertwined by a hate crime. Anita has lost her son; Davey has lost his mother and more besides.

As they narrate their lives to each other, they navigate grief and love, appearances and reality, seeking solace in the catharsis of story-telling. The fast-paced dialogue and pared-down set draw the audience into the tension of their unlikely encounter.

The taut production is recent graduate Mahy’s London début. Though not entirely convincing as an East Ender, Mahy’s performance compensates through focus and emotive force. Louise Jameson is eminently self-assured, and there is a clear rapport between the actors.

Vincent River is on at the Park Theatre (Clifton Terrace, N4 3JP; 020 7870 6876) until 14 April

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