Photo courtesy of Richard Davenport
After 15 years away Abi Morgan’s ‘Tiny Dynamite’ has returned to the London stage. The story of two friends from childhood, bound by traumatic events, things come to a head out in the country where memories are both suppressed and released, and nothing is as it seems.
‘Luce’ takes Anthony to the countryside for a haircut, some new clothes and somewhere to sleep. Every year she manages to find him living rough in the city and takes him on holiday for a few weeks. The ‘shy girl’ and the ‘runt boy’ have known each other since childhood when Anthony was struck by lightning. The idea of what is a ‘freak accident’ keeps getting mentioned with a number of stories vying to be given the name.
On first glance, it does look like Luce is taking care of Anthony, it’s clear that he has some mental difficulties, however, as we explore their relationship we discover that not all is as it seems. Both of them were in love with a woman who has since died, and it is this that is at the heart of the play, especially as another woman, Madeleine catches both of their eyes too. I love that they changed Lucien to Lucy in this production, it changes it, but also keeps it exactly the same. At the heart of this play is friendship, love and the risks involved in both.
Eva-Jane Willis is a standout for me as Luce, her vulnerability, her raw emotion is beautiful to watch, you’re just desperate to find out more, Niall Bishop as Anthony and Tanya Frear as Madeleine are both strong performers too however. The stage is a lovely little wooden number surrounded by water with a small pool of water in the centre of the stage. My one criticism, which is with both the production and the script is the number of quick scene changes, it is quite jarring, and whilst I can understand why it’s done like that, it’s a bit much.
I really enjoyed this production and think it’s brought fresh life to it with the gender swap, and the captivating performance by Willis brings a real humanity and vulnerability which makes it very difficult to stop watching.