I’ve always associated the Orange Tree Theatre with older classics, but in recent months there have been several new plays on at this theatre in Richmond. The most recent is Little Light, a new play by Alice Birch, directed by David Mercatali.
Running at 90 minutes straight through, this family drama begins with central character Alison trying to work out why her husband, Teddy, has demolished the main staircase of their home. It emerges that this is an Important Day – a lunch is being prepared and a visitor is arriving, notably Alison’s heavily pregnant sister Clarissa and – unexpectedly – Clarissa’s partner, Simon. Through the course of the meal, which turns out to be something of a ritual, the sisters’ bickering reveals snippets of family history which eventually lead up to the final revelation.
In general I enjoyed the play; I found it uncomfortable, absorbing and often funny. I managed to guess what the “revelation” might be around halfway into the play, and was pleased to find my theory confirmed, but I left wondering if I would have enjoyed it so much if it were not for this mystery. For me, Little Light wasn’t profound enough or thought-provoking enough to want to see it a second time, gripping though the mystery aspect was. Still, I am glad I saw it.