This was originally reviewed for North West End and the link can be found here.
Janet Shaw’s Full Circle marks the first play of Wakefield Drama Festival 2016; a week’s celebration of comedy and drama. Jaba Inc presents this comedy-drama, centring round the family’s lounge, and appearing with neither a beginning nor an ending story. It is about Linda and Brian’s mothers who haven’t spoken to each other since 1969 and nobody knows the reasons why. It only takes a granddaughter’s wedding for revealing all and facing the aftermath which could affect the family even more.
Stephanie Wilde plays Linda, who is determined to give her daughter, Nicky, the perfect wedding and this only drives Brian (played by Paul Troughton) to despair with costs and the ongoing feud between, Dee and Millie, their mothers. Hints are dropped from both Dee (played by Wendy Chable) and Millie (played by Rozi Afferson) with its innuendos, personal and social references such as ‘Jack’ and the driven pettiness.
Following wedding plans going wrong and the ever growing family tensions; Dee and Millie eventually and reluctantly share what exactly happened in 1969. The 1960s was an era which experienced a big change in social attitudes even if mainstream society then was still bounded with the communities; with strong ties with its members and family values and the church. Children being born out with wedlock; sexual orientation, gender identity and people not following the conservative ‘status quo’ in general were frowned upon (and condemned) by many – something not understood by 21st Century thinking Nicky (played by Kate Boland). The falling out and feud comes down to the forced silences, conditioned thinking and misunderstandings at the time however in the end the predicted assumptions turn out different. The hints and habits dropped earlier are clarified and the characters including ‘Jack’ are confirmed.
Daniel Dwyer-Sinclair gives an excellent and a colourful portrayal of Wills, a gay neighbour and a perfect dramatist who dwells in deeper the characters that contributed to Dee and Millie not speaking to one another so long. All the members of cast have done a sterling job to entertain the audience with the intriguing build up in finding out those reasons.
The play completes a full circle with the characters concerned which truly proves ‘What goes around comes around’ and with no concrete conclusions. Life continues on as before for the characters. Directed by Shaw and supported by Andy Weston’s lighting and Barrie Davenport’s sound.
Contributed image from http://www.northwestend.co.uk