Deborah Bruce’s The Distance returns in 2015 following success earlier this year at The Orange Tree in Richmond. This was the first collaboration between Sheffield Theatres and the Orange Tree and, with any luck, won’t be the last.
I was fortunate enough to be offered tickets to see the performance at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield on Tuesday 3 November.
The Crucible Theatre looked majestic, situated opposite the Winter Gardens, even more stunning illuminated in the backdrop of autumnal darkness, and is modern and welcoming inside.
The premise of the show, starring a cast of seven, is the return of Bea (played by Michelle Duncan who you may recognise from television with appearances including Doctor Who, Sugar Rush and New Tricks) who has lived down under for 5 years and returns to Brighton to tell her friends of her decision to remain for good leaving her children with her husband. The production explores family and friendship and the taboo of a mother leaving. As the plot progresses, cracks of other relationships, that are initially not clear, start to show causing the audience to question their assumptions.
Staging was both simple, effective and worked – set in 2011 and for the most part in sensible, if not a little controlling, Kate (Charlotte Lucas who has appeared in such popular television series as Casualty, Holby City and The Bill) and Dewi’s (Daniel Hawksford who has performed in many plays in theatres in Wales and the UK and has television credits including Doctors) home, the inclusion of reference to the riots at the time add to the unease. The staging in the 4 sided studio of The Crucible was also a treat from watching things simply head on.
Intense and funny, with scenes featuring arguments that felt so raw the whole room felt anxious. It’s no wonder this is so popular.
The Distance plays at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield until 14 November 2015 and returns to Orange Tree Theatre 26 November to 19 December.