That Face, Crucible Studio, Sheffield

4.00

The stained and scratched old family photo on the poster for Polly Stenham's That Face suggests a different story to the one which unfolds so compellingly on the stage of the Crucible Studio. Dad looks proud, even smug, while Mum (Martha) seems content enough. Daughter Mia conveys a bubbly personality and only son Henry looks serious. There's no sign of the word "dysfunctional" stamped across the image. But it's there, all right, etched into the snapshot from behind whose golden frame emerges a quite different story, packed with complexity, richness and quirkiness. By the time we encounter this family, money-man Dad has abandoned his sozzled wife and his kids for a new start in Hong Kong. Henry has given up school to become his drug-dependent mother's carer while Mia is threatened with expulsion for some coolly savage behaviour in the dormitory.

Stenham writes with energetic zest, upping the ante in the second half where relationships deepen and disintegrate and the characters' overheated emotions are screwed up several ratchets. In this splendidly taut production, director Richard Wilson enjoys the luxury of a revolving set, at the centre of which designer James Cotterill's crumpled bed becomes both battleground and meeting place.

Frances Barber gives a beautifully paced performance as Martha, gradually revealing her monstrous, incestuous tendencies. As she disintegrates, Leila Mimmack, a mixed-up Mia, becomes visibly aware of the devastating repercussions of each of their actions. At the centre of it all is Henry who, in James Norton's striking portrayal, is like a young caged animal. Alistair Petrie is the father, for whom order and outward appearances are his preferred emotional currencies and, as a cocky teenage bully, Amy Dawson frightened me as much as she terrorised Gemma Lise Thornton's hapless, silent victim.

To 24 July (0114 249 6000)

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea