Roseacre at The Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Posted on 15 June 2016
By Chris High
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It isn’t often that crime dramas – let alone those with a distinctly Scandinavian flavour to them – are seen on stage, outside of the Agatha Christie-esque homage’s so beloved by fans of Midsummer. So it is a pleasure to report that Michael White’s Roseacre which appeared last night at The Unity Theatre, not only has all the ingredients hard-hitting crime needs to make it stand on its own, but also some delightfully choreographed movements and – crucially – a twist that will have you gasping.

After a body is discovered at a demonstration, a tangled web of deception is unearthed. Is anyone who they say they are? And how far will they go to keep their secrets?

Michael White’s script is a thing of absolute beauty. Fast paced, intelligent and in no way demeaning to the intelligence of the audience, the action flies along at a break neck pace but with a clarity that whilst necessarily mis-directional at times, never “cheats” and so engages from the first moment.

The set, too, is stripped back – just a backboard that shows a cliff face – but what the cast manage to achieve with their plethora of props – and, indeed, their own bodies – breathes yet more life into proceedings whilst also managing to contribute additional layers to the action that might otherwise be missing.

As to the 4 strong cast, with Katie Robinson brilliantly playing the central character of Viv and Dominic Myerscough as John more than able to bounce of her insecurities, it is as though both are ensnared in what’s happening in some sort of Groundhog Day scenario, so credible are their performances. When interacting with Emma Romy-Jones and Michael White, though, Roseacre seems more fitting for TV than the stage, such is its slick and professional delivery. In fact so slick, the only complaint can be that in places a little less rushing and more character development might provide just a tad more tension.

With exemplary acting, beautiful lines, a totally credible and enthralling plot that is aided and abetted by some exquisite choreography, Roseacre deserves to be lauded long and loud and Michael White, Square Peg, their cast of creative exponents and The Unity Theatre for staging the play should all be roundly applauded.

Roseacre
The Unity Theatre, Liverpool
June 14th, 2016
Author & Director: Michael White
Producer: Square Peg Theatre
Cast: Emma Romy-Jones, Dominic Myerscough, Katie Robinson, Michael White
Running Time: 1 hour
PR Rating: **** Gripping Stuff

Tour:
15th June — Cast, Doncaster
24th June — The Old Fire Station, Oxford (as part of the Off Beat Festival)
14th & 15th July — Harrogate Studio Theatre, Harrogate
16th July — The Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond (N.Yorks)
23rd July — The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
www.squarepegtheatre.co.uk