Sheltered: Well-Meaning But Wide Of The Mark

A review of the latest production at the Tabard Theatre

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Sheltered is a play that seems to be trying to do too much. Billed as a black comedy, it also tries to be a serious discussion on homelessness, and a bit of a social satire on living in Chiswick. Sadly, it falls wide of the mark.

Image: Richard Evans

A first from writer Greg A. Smith, it’s very well-meaning as he wanted to explore the plight of the homeless at Christmas, and the writing’s at its best when that’s the topic in the frame. It’s aided by a very strong performance from Michael Longhi as Rory the homeless man, playing him with a nice mix of intelligence and befuddlement. He’s also the only one of the seven characters who is remotely likeable.

Rory has been invited to spend Christmas Day with Chiswick couple Tamsin (Nikki Squire) and Harry (Michael Duran) and their appalling daughter Jenna (Phoebe Batteson-Brown). But all is not as it seems, they’ve got an ulterior motive as is revealed when their friends Donald (Simon Mitelman) and Marissa (Sarah Hannah) arrive with Den (Jim Mannering), the homeless man they’ve taken in for Christmas.

Image: Richard Evans

Unfortunately the ulterior motive is where it goes wrong. The central plot is extremely unpleasant and ludicrous, even for black comedy, and the joke wears thin.

Smith raises some good points on homelessness but they are never allowed to develop and get lost in the general confusion of everything else that’s happening on stage.

Sheltered runs at the Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Road, W4 1LW from 18 November - 6 December 2014

Penny Flood

December 1, 2014

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