Ripples can be viewed online for two weeks, please note this review contains information about this production.
National Theatre Wales and Sherman Theatre’s premiere of ‘Ripples’ by Tracy Harris was streamed live on Saturday night (May 2nd, 2020).
This was the first NTW Network reading (the new digital programme) and was adapted and re-imagined for a virtual world. This was certainly a ground breaking experiment and a fantastic opportunity for the RWCMD third year graduates to display their talents.
The play was due to be performed in the week that the college went into lockdown and later at other venues, but quite clearly all performances had to be cancelled. The plot worked well as we are introduced to a group of people who are currently in therapy due to various issues. They meet on Zoom regularly to talk through their nightmares and insecurities. Each has experienced a different turmoil and are encouraged to voice their own tragedies in order to share their personal grief.
This is done well as we are drawn in to their world through the use of flashbacks, which provides a welcome break from the zoom screen formation. For example, a nurse, Lisa, is traumatised by a mistake she has made at work, Brodie has been abused by her boyfriend and is addicted to drugs, and Larry has witnessed his partner being stabbed in a homophobic attack. Every character is damaged in one way or another and each actor gives an excellent portrayal of an individual going through their personal torment.
Performances were both realistic and convincing, enabling us to sympathise and feel their hurt. Ensemble work was interacted well, sometimes as a group and other times in pairs. Their facial expressions and gestures were compelling, allowing the audience to break through the technical barriers. This was an excellent opportunity for these graduates to display their talents at a very strange and difficult time for performers. It certainly was a successful experiment and although a theatre staged performance would have been equally interesting, it just goes to show what is possible to achieve through the medium of streaming within social distancing scenarios.
Congratulations to all involved – actors Catrin Walker-Booth, John Tate, Luke Nunn, Emily John, Shannen McNeice, Mark Henry Davies, Dafydd Thomas and Meryn Davies Williams, director Matthew Holmquist and his talented creative team but especially writer Tracy Harris for her vision. Good luck to all the RWCMD students on their new journeys and I wish them well in their future careers. The play is available to view on the AM website for two weeks.