The Retreat

Nick takes his girlfriend Flora off for a quiet rural weekend. Or so she thinks. But he seems edgy and nervous. We might almost wonder why Flora puts up with his behaviour. Suddenly Curtis appears. And things begin to unravel. Nick’s past lies buried here, and the ghosts that are about to reappear could be ravenous and devouring ghosts. Nick is not exactly how he first seems...The young cast handle the intensity of the roles they have with commendable conviction. All four are very believable. Sam Pierce as Nick gives every indication of going through a personal hell which he would avoid if possible. Jamie Munro as Flora has to watch the secure world she thought she shared fall apart. Peter Cary as Curtis, the agent of revelation, is firmly convincing. Amy Rushton as Ellie learns more about her man Curtis than she may have wanted to.The impact that the new characters make on the original couple might make you think that this will be a play largely about a realignment of affections – but, no – it is much darker than that. It has many of the elements of classical tragedy, with the unities of time, place and action largely followed and all the worst of the action happening offstage, having to be imagined and dependent on the power of the words and how they are spoken. Very like the Greeks. The scene with the kids on the beach which is revisited is very effective. Sam Pearce deals well with all that he has to recount, but at one point I felt he could have been positioned better than so close to the audience with his back to us.If the male cast members occasionally showed a nervousness that was extra to the text this is not surprising. The roles were demanding, and Jenni Herzberg can be commended for a well and tightly written drama. Recommended if you want something a bit meatier than many Fringe offerings.

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The Blurb

The arrival of an unexpected guest shatters Nick and Flora's romantic weekend by the sea. Pushed to the brink of self-destruction, can they survive the truth that emerges about Nick's chilling past? From Nottingham's award-winning New Theatre: www.newtheatre.org.uk.

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