Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Last night me and my husband spent a scintillating evening watching The Truth/The Flats, two new plays by Tim Fifield. The play is performed by the brilliant Pitchy Breath Theatre Company, a community theatre company based in Crawley which brings a real local flavour to the performance. Having seen quite a few of their plays before we knew that we were going to be in for a thought-provoking evening.
The performances of The Truth/The Flats were held in the Studio at The Hawth, a small auditorium within the main theatre which perfectly suits a small production such as this. The two plays are completely separate, but the stories entwine so that the same two characters appear in both which is really clever.
The first play, The Flats, has just two actors and tells the story of father, Mark, and daughter, Toyah, meeting for the first time since being adopted. She comes to find out the truth behind why her father didn’t want her as a baby and how her mother died. For a story so intense there is a lot of humour mainly at the expense of Mark’s awkwardness through trying too hard, fondant fancy anyone? Amongst the heartache they discover a shared love of eighties music and the intensity is broken up by dad dancing and singing to Haircut 100.
Following a 20 minute interval the second play, The Flats, tells the story of the 6th floor in a council block in Romford. With a full cast of thirteen it shows the lives of the neighbours, with comings and goings, day and night, all being watched by Billy, the man who sits outside his flat watching all day long. He takes in parcels and helps people with whatever needs doing, forever watching. The days go by with the lift breaking down several times throughout with the arrival of the brilliantly funny lift engineer trying to calm everyone down with mindfulness. At the end of the play Billy goes missing and Elaine goes in to his flat to see that he has written a letter to each of his neighbours. The play sums up with each of them telling their stories via the letters. Both heart wrenching and thought provoking it just shows that you never really know what’s going on in other people’s lives.
The plays bring to light some of the many forms of loneliness and social isolation. Losing yourself within social media, being too scared to go outside, struggling with money and the death of a loved one all feature throughout both the brilliant performances.
We saw this production at The Hawth in Crawley which is easy to get to and has plenty of free parking. The bar area is comfortable and relaxing and well stocked with both drinks, snacks and ice creams. You can also book a pre-theatre meal making for a fantastic night out.
My husband and I really enjoyed this production from Pitchy Breath Theatre Company and would definitely attend any future performances of theirs. Brilliantly performed by the cast, the plays are intense in parts and humorous in others. Although funny, they aren’t light hearted and will leave your mind racing. Fine acting skills and an up to date storyline really brought these plays by Tim Fifield alive. Highly recommended.
Tickets cost £12 (booking fees may apply).
The Truth/The Flats is at The Hawth in Crawley from 19-20 March 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01293 553636.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636