Posted 10 March 2012 - 05:40 PM
Nick Payne's play is remarkably uneventful. A family come together for the funeral of one of their own, each family member struggling to deal with grief, loss and blame. The title suggests the theme: that those who lay down their cross will best succeed in moving forward. The cross metaphor even extends to the mother of the family getting a nail stuck in her foot! Anyhow, despite little happening, and despite the fact that what does happen is fairly straightforward and everyday, the play possesses an odd sullen power. Much credit goes to the performers. Susan Wooldridge is terrific as a soused, clumsy and deliberate ex-wife. She offers the only tragicomic performance, as funny as it is sad. Lucy Phelps cannily carries the burden of her bitter politics like a coiled but superficially civil snake. The most touching performances are those of Andy de la Tour (Tony, father of the dead boy) and Angela Terence (Raph, fiance of the dead boy), as two people living in the here and now, doing day to day things, and tenderly helping each other through the tidal waves of pain and grief. 4 STARS.