Ten Tiny Toes, Everyman, Liverpool
Monday 07 July 2008
There's a very intense scene in Esther Wilson's Ten Tiny Toes on which the play turns. Gill, whose two sons served in Iraq, finds her voice and is drawn towards the organisation Military Families Against the War (MFAW). Her husband, numbed by the death of their younger boy, begs his wife to "leave all this bloody madness to someone else out there". You feel desperately for both of them.
Wilson's naturalistic drama, directed by Polly Teale, makes an explosive impact thanks to concentrated acting and the creation of raw, punchy characters.
Michael Kent is the older son, home on leave. When his brother, Chris, joins up, it precipitates a crisis of pent-up contempt so that – when the unthinkable happens – Michael disappears into a guilt-fuelled alienation. Chris (Joe Shipman), as his bloodied, ghostly self, haunts and taunts his brother. It is after the knock at the door that the play has more focused writing, sharper characterisation and engaging arguments.
Wilson has interwoven scenes from MFAW, which features the excellent Joanna Bacon as the mother tolling a bell as she recites names of the dead outside Westminster. The split set takes us from the sofa, from which Lisa Parry's Gill monitors her sons' moves via 24-hour news and the internet, to shadowy scenes of the war zone. "Can we take the emotion out of this, please?" asks one mother in MFAW. In Wilson's searing play, the answer, fortunately, is a resounding "No".
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This is what happens when you tattoo Charmander on yourself, drunk, and with no experience
- 2 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'