Cft Website Images 447X792Px Meeting.

Lydia Leonard
Gerald Kyd   Jean St Clair

The Meeting

A new play by Charlotte Jones

Minerva Theatre

Overview

 
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Rachel has been the voice for her deaf mother since she was born, but now she is restless to be heard for herself. Together, they have found sanctuary in a Quaker community that reveres silence. But the world is at war and it is becoming ever harder to live in Friendship. When a stranger arrives in their midst, their fragile peace is set to shatter.

This powerful new play from the acclaimed writer Charlotte Jones is a spellbinding exploration of the timeless challenges of bringing the truth to light.

Charlotte Jones’s multi award-winning play Humble Boy transferred to the West End and Broadway following a sell-out run at the National Theatre. Her other work includes The Lightning Play at the Almeida Theatre, The Dark at the Donmar Warehouse and Martha, Josie & The Chinese Elvis (UK tour).

Lydia Leonard was most recently seen in Oslo at the National Theatre and the West End. She was Tony Award-nominated for her role as Anne Boleyn in the RSC’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies; her screen credits include Virginia Woolf in Life in Squares.

Gerald Kyd’s many National Theatre credits include Three Winters, Children of the Sun and The Cherry Orchard;  Hapgood at Hampstead Theatre and Trigorin in The Seagull for the RSC. Television includes Casualty and Humans.

Jean St Clair recently won Best Actress for the second time at Clin d’Oeil, the major French Deaf Film festival, for Signs of an Affair which she also wrote. Her theatre credits include Let Me Play The Lion Too (Told by an Idiot/Barbican), The Government Inspector (Birmingham Rep/Ramps on the Moon) and Children of a Lesser God (West End/national tour).

Director Natalie Abrahami makes her debut at Chichester; her recent productions include Queen Anne (RSC/West End) and Happy Days (Young Vic). She was Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill from 2007 – 2012, and Associate Director at the Young Vic.

Prologue 17 Blue Teal.

Prologue tickets available now!

Reviews

 

A serious, smouldering love story that touches on meaty questions about female empowerment, religious conviction and the treatment of disability. Richly evocative staging from director Natalie Abrahami conjures a world of chalk and flint, beauty and privation. Lydia Leonard is wonderfully contained and quietly agonised as the dutiful, emotionally errant Rachel, while Jean St Clair is terrific too as her mute, marginalised, finally defiant mother. As for Laurie Davidson as the mysterious tousled heart-throb – well, he’s barely out of drama school and utterly compelling.

Daily Telegraph
 

The Meeting has a spare, strange beauty, and a piercing eloquence. Jones’s writing is as tangy and restless as seawater, gently eddying one moment, cresting into tsunami-force waves the next, dangerous emotional undercurrents beneath its surface. Deftly directed by Natalie Abrahami, it has a deceptive simplicity, demanding an attentive ear as much to what is unsaid as to its plain-speaking poeticism. Vicki Mortimer’s design, with its concentric circles and banks of stones, suggests the weatherworn landscape, and layers of meaning emerge from Jones’s play like sedimental strata.

Times
 

Natalie Abrahami’s direction and Vicki Mortimer’s design give the play a strong physical life and there are good performances all round. Gerald Kyd as the unbreakable Adam, Laurie Davidson as the dangerous interloper, Olivia Darnley as a paradoxical Quaker chatterbox all impress, and it is moving to see Jean St Clair, as Rachel’s long-silenced mother, given virtually the last word.

Guardian
 

A tender but fierce drama. Impressive.

Evening Standard
 

Charlotte Jones deftly draws complex, believable characters and interweaves messy human emotions with big themes, exploring expression and self-restraint, acceptance, forgiveness and proper listening.

Financial Times
 

Jean St Clair makes herself a fierce and commanding presence through gesture alone, making every shrug and piercing stare unmistakably eloquent for the characters around her who have never tried to learn her fluent sign language. Lydia Leonard is similarly superb as her daughter Rachel, suffocating in her own guilt and shame, struggling to make herself heard by her kindly but emotionally wounded husband – played with great gentleness by Gerald Kyd.

The Stage

Charlotte Jones’ fascinating, complex drama makes for compelling viewing as it slowly, quietly, powerfully draws us in. Vicki Mortimer’s ingenious set gives the stage remarkable depth while retaining a simplicity which gives director Natalie Abrahami the perfect platform. On it she orchestrates it all to near perfection.
Lydia Leonard is superb – and so is Laurie Davidson as Nathaniel, the mysterious intruder who effectively lights the touch paper.

Chichester Observer
 

This is a play which sizzles with the sheer quality of the plot and the acting. Compelling.

West Sussex County Times

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Running Time
2 hours 10 minutes including the interval