The Magic Tree
No magic here
This article is from 2008.
From the programme notes, Ursula Rani Sarma's play sounds a dark, yet passionate love story - which just goes to show how misleading a synopsis can be.
The Magic Tree explores themes of murder and gang rape and how these experiences destroy lives (no, really?). The problem here is not only that the plot is unintelligible to the audience, but that it also seems so to the actors. There is absolutely no explanation given, whether through dialogue or acting, for the choices these characters make, so the action feels completely haphazard, as though the actors have been given the script and told to follow it blindly, without investing their characters with depth of feeling or understanding.
An audio depiction of a child character works effectively, and the rock soundtrack is enjoyable enough - it's just a shame it's only played over lengthy and clunky scene changes. Overall, however, the play feels implausible and dull. Upon leaving the venue, two women stopped me and asked if I knew what the peculiar, wistful ending meant. I didn't.
Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 25 Aug, 5pm, £10-£11 (£9-£10).