"Room" / "Play" & "Silence
Emma Donoghue's “Room” is one of the most accomplished popular novels of recent years. The story of a young woman struggling to survive an abusive abduction scenario along with the son to whom she has given birth whilst in captivity, its effectiveness comes from the skill with which she conveys the surreal fact that the small room in which they are enclosed is the only universe the child, Jack, can comprehend.
Had it focussed on the bare bones of the plot, Lenny Abrahamson's cinematic adaptation could have been a TV-movie of the week cliché-fest. Imaginative camerawork, a subtle score (by Stephen Rennicks) and wonderful central performances from Brie Larson and young Jacob Tremblay, however, ensure that the clammy reality of their shared plight is rendered with dreamlike intensity. The integrity of the narrative has been maintained by having Donoghue write the screenplay herself; therefore the story continues past the point at which a more conventional Hollywood movie might conclude, and after the heart-stopping climax, one kind of tension is replaced by another.
Ultimately “Room” is a hymn to motherhood, but it is unrelentingly unsentimental and utterly deserving of all the plaudits it is receiving.
|Victoria John in "Play" (Pallasca Photography)|
My first theatre reviewing assignment of the year was the opening presentation in the new season from Cardiff’s The Other Room – a double bill comprising Samuel Beckett’s “Play” (the one with the people in jars) and Harold Pinter’s “Silence”; both involving three people reflecting poetically on past, unhappy relationships. A short but intense evening’s entertainment.