Teaset

A solo show is a delicate thing. The weight of the entire performance rests on one actor and all attention in the room is focused on them: their every movement is scrutinised in a way that just doesn’t occur in normal pieces. Needless to say, though these are shows that can easily be done poorly, Teaset is not a show that has to worry. It soars above many of its contemporaries in delivering an incredibly engaging and completely engrossing one woman show that will leave you laughing one moment and holding back tears the next.

Themes of old age, loss and ultimately trauma are played with, and though the play deals with some pretty disturbing stuff, it never feels exploitative

Amy Molloy plays a care worker, employed to stay at a wealthy family’s house and look after an elderly woman over the New Year Holidays on the eve of the Millennium. Molloy demonstrates beyond all doubt that she is an immensely talented performer over the course of the hour, bringing a frank and cynical edge to her character that only heightens the story’s dark and often bleak tone. Her intensity and commitment to the part made the emotional scenes seem all the more raw and I must admit that I welled up several times.

Molloy is blessed to be working with such a good text: the script, written by Ginna Moxley, is paced perfectly and allows us just enough time to become acclimatised to the setting and characters before descending into the dark heart at the centre of the plot. Themes of old age, loss and ultimately trauma are played with, and though the play deals with some pretty disturbing stuff, it never feels exploitative. It’s clear there’s a great deal of compassion and care for the elderly in the script and that this is play about their struggles and isolation, highlighting issues that we often like to sweep under the carpet in our society.

All of this is complemented by the subtle yet still brilliantly utilised tech, which used small nuanced lighting changes to note changes in location and setting. This, along with Molloy’s own talents as an actor, is enough to transport us anywhere the script requires us to be. And any problems that crop up are so minor they’re hardly worth criticising. The script can occasionally come off as a bit heavy-handed or preachy, while occasionally the tech was slightly behind where it ought to be. But given the subject matter at hand and the general quality of the performance, we can forgive the odd soapboxing and tech slip ups.

Teaset is an incredible show that I would recommend for everyone to see if they can. One of the best realised solo shows I’ve seen in a long time.

Reviews by Joseph McAulay

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Performances

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The Blurb

Christmas, 1999. A young woman minds elderly Mrs A, forgotten and isolated from her family. As New Year approaches, she makes an unlikely connection with her elderly charge and discovers the secret of her recent trauma, a secret that leaves both of them shaken in the wake of such unthinkable violence. An absorbing, powerful play that really captures what it is to be lonely, misplaced or to feel a burden to those you love or even society (no matter your age) and the devastating choices this leads us to. 'Great, courageous young talent' (Alan Rickman).

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