Hannah Marlow Hampton @ The Tabard Theatre

Gabriella La Rocca meets playwright Kieron Barry

Related Links

Michael Frayn's Copenhagen at The Tabard

Other events in Chiswick


Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Road, Chiswick W4 1LW

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the

"‘The autumn slot for me is like a laboratory to see what works," says playwright Kieron Barry and this year his idea definitely works.

Hannah Marlow Hampton, just as you say it, in one breath, throws you into the deep end of a family break up, in one go.

The strength and bond in families make children go to extremes and even imagine they have special powers that can prevent their parents from splitting up.

Hannah and her sister’s carefree and idyllic childhood is threatened by their father’s affair. The whole family bounces off Hannah’s delightful and energetic personality, played by Lucy Hytner.

It’s the simple, every day lexicon of one family, with its own familiar style, the subtle exchanges of affection that transpire even in the most painful arguments, sounding comical to outsiders, that grip you.

How does it work? It starts backstage and it’s what spectators don’t see. Kieron Barry explains that it takes six, seven, ten drafts to get it right and says, "The first draft is always pretty dreadful. At 13 it’s a play."

His idea develops when he gets the actors involved and adds, "It’s not like getting a book published. You can nibble around the edges. It’s far nicer than writing a novel. Re-writing is key and it is endlessly rewarding and fascinating to see how actors cope [with the script] and how they develop in their roles. Every show is different and the actors are different every night."

Life throws anything at you at any time. The good times are the same all over the world with the only difference on how they celebrate them - the bad times extract the character of the individual.

Surely taking them on stage is exhausting and overwhelming. Kieron Barry confirms that it is a highly emotional world "When I get bored I become analytical. It’s in this environment that you learn what you are writing about."

His style is always short and snappy and it’s just the right injection to connect you immediately with the characters on stage. There are no frills, no fancy costumes. It’s the actors’ voices and the audience that make theatre. Hannah Marlow Hampton brings together the experienced and powerful voices of Jasper Jacob, Caroline Langston which contrast with Sydney Rae White’s, youthful but equally powerful.

Gabriella La Rocca

November 13, 2007