Five Kinds of Silence

This jump-cutting adaptation of Shelagh Stephenson’s drama following two generations of domestic abuse is a decent attempt at a school-level production. Five Kinds of Silence deals with horrific issues with maturity, but it lacks anything to grab the imagination. It is straightforward, easy to remain focused upon, but largely uninspiring as it uses predictable and traditional theatrical techniques to guide audience attention and sympathies.

An impressive debut

As the production attempts to answer our initial questions about the complex family construct, continuity errors unfortunately create more questions. An eclectic array of contemporary suits, vibrant 80s knits and drab 60s attire leaves the show lost in its own confusion. It is difficult to invest in a performance which centres around shifts in time when each scene features retro elements and modern components. Despite the lack of clarity, the dialogue is fast-paced and emotive, and vintage tracks boost energy when the delivery gets bogged down.

Powerful instances from the young MGA Academy actors sees moments of harrowing truth. A microphone is used innovatively in multi-roling, which is taken on with vigour by principal characters, who show versatility and resourcefulness. Though Scottish accents creep through the northern dialect of the play, it is a convincing effort by the performers to tackle such chilling subject matter.

Though a lack of dramaturgical imagination is prevalent, potent occurrences of innovation add elements of theatrical impulse to anticipated scenes. Slow-motion dancing breaks up the intense dialogue and physical writhing on the constant bed prop elevates sections to unsettling experiences.

There is nothing to particularly dislike about Five Kinds of Silence, but nothing to inspire either. It is an impressive debut, especially considering the twisted psychological depths to the story. However, it would benefit from some variation in structure and style, to lift it from a school production to a professional novelty.

Reviews by Yasmin Duggal

C venues – C primo

The Chess Player

★★★★★
C venues – C royale

Stegosaurus

★★★★★
C venues – C too

Five Kinds of Silence

★★★
C venues – C primo

Morgan Stern

★★★
C venues – C royale

How to Be a Sissy with Percy Q Shun

★★★★
Zoo

The Concrete Jungle Book

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The chilling story of a family who try to free themselves from the power of the vicious Billy, who abuses his wife, Mary, and their children, Susan and Janet. Exploring ideas of abuse being continued from childhood, we discover that Billy was himself abused, and has replayed this with his own children. The story unfolds through interviews with police and psychologists, with the absent Billy a sinister presence throughout. Shelah Stephenson’s heart-wrenching play won both the 1996 UK Writers Guild's Best Original Play award and the 1997 Sony Award for Best Original Drama.

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Les Miserables

From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Witness for the Prosecution

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets