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Review: Tiny Dynamite, at Old Red Lion

Intense story of friends on a summer retreat raises some intriguing questions

18 January, 2018 — By Billie Manning

Tanya Frear and Eva-Jane Willis in Tiny Dynamite. Photo: Richard Davenport

“WE were three points of the same triangle.”

Abi Morgan’s Tiny Dynamite is a tale of tension between opposites: between electricity and water, fiction and reality, the desire for love and the desire for safety. Two childhood friends, missing a third, spend the summer at a remote country retreat. Risk-analyst Luce whisks rough-sleeper Anthony away for a holiday every year, in an attempt to “fix” what deep down she believes she may have broken. But this time they meet the seductive Madeleine, who reminds the friends of their broken triangle more than either would care to admit – and neither can continue to hide from the past.

The conflict between opposing personalities Luce (Eva-Jane Willis) and Anthony (Niall Bishop) is well played out, though Tanya Fear’s Madeleine at times seems slightly lost behind the pair.

Willis in particular builds her character’s inner struggle to a wonderfully emotional moment of clarity. David Loumgair’s choice to change Luce’s gender to female in this revival of Morgan’s 2001 drama adds a further shade of complexity to the tale, and leaves me curious as to the potentialities of an all-female cast.

The staging is innovative, and the exposed, flickering lighting against the watery borders below intensifies the action nicely. An overabundance of props often tips the balance of the space from appropriately claustrophobic to cramped, and the physicality of the transitions is never pushed to its full potential.

Raising intriguing questions about the stories we tell ourselves, the production doesn’t quite follow through on its initial suspense.

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