Nestled all cozy in the Barron Theatre, St Andrews’ renowned performing arts fund, Mermaids, produced and performed Harold Pinter’s Tony Award winning play, The Homecoming. Mermaids director, Harry Ledgerwood, used the story of a son returning home to his father and brothers to touch on the themes of self rediscovery and family rivalry.
The play follows a weekend with a confused, motherless family. It centers around the insecurities of Max, played by Joseph Kitching, who is a disgruntled and lonely father, and his family in relation to the visiting daughter-in law, Ruth (Alex Duckworth). Intentionally awkward and tense interactions between him and his brother, Sam (Reise Watson), sons Lenny (Charlie Flynn), Joey (Harry Siderfin) and Teddy (Xavier Atkins), and of course, the love interest, Ruth drove the audience to feel just as uncomfortable as the characters themselves, thus involving the viewers throughout the entire production. As a whole, the flow of dialogue between the characters emphasised the distant and broken nature of the seemingly unorthodox family dynamic very well as the actors/actress seemed quite comfortable in their characters and were able to keep the audience engaged, even through the simplest actions like sipping water. Flynn, especially, was exceptional at portraying a disturbed pimp, for lack of better words, as he was able to manipulate the awkward silences to draw attention to the offputting nature of his character.
Siderfin played the role of Joey who acted as the comic relief amidst the tension of a broken family. He was excellent at continually making the audience laugh through various little character ticks. Similarly, Duckworth held the audience in the palm of her hand with her interpretation of the character, Ruth. Though she demonstrated limited character development as a distant mother, wife and daughter in law, her performance peaked in the closing scene; Duckworth took command of the stage whilst simultaneously capturing the hearts of the other male characters as she sat patting the head of Siderfin.
Pinters’ The Homecoming is a quite incestuous and strange drama, yet Ledgerwood put his best foot forward through his excellent rendition of the play. There were few moments during this performance where I was not engaged in the happenings on the stage. I applaud the cast, especially actors Flynn and Siderfin, in their production of The Homecoming, and I look forward to the future works put on by the Mermaids and Ledgerwood.