Bridge

Bridge opens with a woman sitting on an isolated bridge being harassed by a stranger who won’t let her be. As the two argue and talk, secrets are revealed and highly personal matters come to light.

Lies are told and revealed in a surprisingly gentle fashion that does a good job of building a sense of intimacy.

BAFTA-winner Donna Franceschild both wrote and directed Bridge, the eleventh play in this season's A Play, a Pie and a Pint. Given her impressive credentials, it is no surprise that the script is tight and professional. It is funny and moving by turns, and able to switch between the two with precision. Lies are told and revealed in a surprisingly gentle fashion that does a good job of building a sense of intimacy.

The play was originally commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and, while it is clear that it would work for radio, the adaptation for the stage is successful. It is helped to no small degree by designer Patrick McGurn. His stark, simple set is evocative of the isolation of the characters while never intruding on the dialogue-heavy production.

The cast clearly have a deep understanding of their material. Iain Robertson as Davy is excellent; utterly believable and thoroughly likeable, he really draws out every nuance of his complex character. Eilidh McCormick provides him with a good sparring partner. She handles her emotional role well, keeping her character's veneer intact while revealing glimpses of the vulnerability beneath. If anything, McCormick comes across a little too competently. Everything about her, from her hair to her clothes to her general demeanour, is neat and (usually) controlled, and this jars a little with what we are told about her character and situation.

The big reveal that finally comes towards the end of the piece is clearly signposted to the extent that it’s a bit of a foregone conclusion, and this works extremely well as dramatic irony. We know the truth, but we don’t know how much the characters have picked up, and whether they know enough to do the right thing. It’s all surprisingly suspenseful.

Unfortunately, the conclusion of the piece is also predictable, and this is a bit of a shame. It’s a result of the story’s familiarity. We haven’t seen this story before, but we have seen stories like it, and we know how they end. Still, this is generally an accomplished piece of theatre and a real pleasure to watch.

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The Blurb

Late one night, two strangers meet on a bridge. Davy says he’s looking for a light. The woman says she’s waiting for a friend. Both of them are lying.

By turns funny and sad, “Bridge” follows the woman’s increasingly desperate efforts to get rid of the affable, annoying and seemingly oblivious Davy, who insists on telling her long-winded, often impenetrable stories about his life, and asking her questions that she pointedly ignores. Why, for example, has she not got her handbag with her?

Out of the roller coaster of their strangely emerging relationship comes the realisation that this chance encounter between two damaged people is anything but what it seems.

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