Parliament Square, Bush Theatre | Review

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Parliament Square
Bush Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 4th December 2017 by Shaun Dicks

“We get a little happiness and then we die."

The Bush Theatre, a highly respected and popular Off-West End theatre in buzzing Shephard’s Bush, is currently home to a show that’s origins take it back North to the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. The Bush Theatre itself as a building looks very new and stylish; when you walk into the main performance space that theme continues. The stage is set in the round, dressed very simply but elegantly with household items. As you walk in there is serious, almost ominous music playing, setting the tone for the rest of the show. 

It’s a common theme for shows from the Royal Exchange to be outstanding and Parliament Square is no different. From beginning to end this show is strong, slick and packs a powerful punch. The show sizzles as it moves from scene to scene. Cleverly using lighting, staging and sound for the piece to reach all nooks of the space and keeping every audience member gripped as the show builds towards it’s climax. The use of micro or flash scenes aides the narrative as it means that we're not bogged down with any filler scenes, this script is a triumph for James Fritz, a true masterclass on how to write an impactful script in an age where not all new work is as tight as this. 

However, it is not just the script that is outstanding here, the cast are a group of individuals brimming with talent and confidence. The supporting cast was a highlight- so fluid in their use of the staging and the way they bring James Fritz’s piece to life. They are unapologetic in what they're presenting, and they make this show tragically beautiful. It's a frank and realistic representation of the world today, a true protest piece.

Joanne Howarth (Mum) and Kelly Hotten (Physio/Colleague/Ticket Woman/Friend) are particularly outstanding as the comic relief aspect of a show that is covered and littered in seriousness and real-life truths. What is interesting is Damola Adelaja (Tommy) and his pitching of the character. In a world riddled with hyper masculine characters, Tommy is presented as this sensitive and caring man- a refreshing take on the modern-day male. 

As we fall into Panto Land season I find some people forget that London is still brimming with brilliant theatre. Parliament Square is part of that. This protest drama is a pivotal piece of theatre that needs to be seen by all, and needs to be taken to the West End. The show is powerful, influential and relevant. It is a show not to be missed and you have until the 6th January to catch it before its gone. In this day and age, we all need something to believe in. This show emphasises this more than ever. A masterpiece.

photo credit: Richard Davenport