My Brother’s Keeper? Reviews; a play about the will to live.
Reviews are in for My Brother’s Keeper? and we are delighted to say that they are very good. One of our favourite reviews is by journalist and theatre critic Jonny Fox of Critical Mass who writes “Sometimes you sit through a tedious play thinking ‘I’m losing the will to live’ – but in My Brother’s Keeper you have a refreshing converse: a well-written play about the will to live.”
More about My Brother’s Keeper?
If you have read our previous blog, that was written by My Brother’s Keeper? director Craig Gilbert; you will know that the play opens with stroke sufferer Mr. Stone recovering in a hospital bed. The play was first performed in 1985 when people that had suffered a stroke were referred to as such…stroke sufferers. Now Mr. Stone would be called a stroke survivor, the assumption being that he would choose life; and to try to heal mentally and physically from the stroke. But this is where Nigel Williams author of My Brother’s Keeper? shows his formidable skill and insight. Because, actually this affecting play is about mortality and a family’s reaction to it. Perhaps, as you would expect, the family is not united, and has conflicting reactions to the ‘will to live’ dilemma.
What the theatre critics say about My Brother’s Keeper?
If you have been to The Playground Theatre before you will know that our venue is intimate. My Brother’s Keeper? leans into us and speaks up close to us about our own families and, of course, our own mortality.
As theatre critic Cindy Marcolina of Broadway World wrote in her review: “A solid piece of drama that manages to remain so after more than 30 years, My Brother’s Keeper? delivers a meticulous investigation of the internal gears of a dysfunctional family.”
Paul Vale theatre critic from The Stage wrote: “The crux of this play lies in the resolution of a sibling rivalry that may well be too deeply entrenched to survive. […] Craig Gilbert’s production is impeccably staged, the seeming cavernous space at the Playground needing little in the way of decor to convince us of the privations of the NHS. The only colour in this bleak ward is the cheery, pragmatic Terry, the nurse played intuitively by William Reay. Oddly, it’s a moment that also dates the play, as Kathryn Pogson’s Mrs Stone marvels at the very idea of a male nurse.”
Critic Peter Brown of ActDrop writes: “Much of the action centres on the conflict between the two sons, with Kathryn Pogson’s Mrs Stone caught between her warring offspring and caring for her husband. Director Craig Gilbert skilfully orchestrates his strong acting team to deliver a totally absorbing drama with highly polished and engrossing performances from the entire cast. I particularly enjoyed David Partridge’s finely-tuned but almost effortlessly confident work as Sam that sets a well-defined contrast with Josh Taylor’s commendably played Tony. Though it’s certainly about family discord and sibling rivalry, My Brother’s Keeper? finds plenty of other ingredients to latch on to – including the right to die, ideological extremes, personal tragedies and the nature of just what an “ordinary family” is and ought to be – all of which makes the play more than amply relevant for a modern audience.”
Compelling stuff, highly recommended.
Check What’s On at The Playground Theatre
My Brother’s Keeper? cast and crew
Mr. Stone: Andy de la Tour
Mrs. Stone: Kathryn Pogson
Sam Stone: David Partridge
Tony Stone: Josh Taylor
Terry: William Reay
Mr Pittorini: Rick James
Lighting Designer: Chris Withers
Sound Designer: Ben Grant
Set & Costume: Victoria Spewing
Tinted Frame productions directed by the New Works Associate of The Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Craig Gilbert.