Small Change is a puzzle, put together from snippets of memory, seen through a clear-eyed but chaotic mind, traumatised by loss and family fury, writes Toby Porter.
It’s not an easy night of entertainment – but a little jewel of immense creative and poetic power.
Peter Gills’ memory play, set on the east side of Cardiff in the 1950s and the 1970s, is about boyhood, seen through the eyes of a grown man.
It depicts a complex love between mothers, sons and friends and a search for a dimly-recalled truth.
It has been revived by George Richmond-Scott and launches the autumn season at Clapham’s Omnibus Theatre until October 2.
Mr Richmond-Scott is the associate director for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and saw it through from its beginnings at the Sheffield Crucible to its West End transfer and universal success.
He is a Clapham local and now the head of performance at Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, on Wandsworth Common – and this is his second production at Omnibus Theatre after his double 2018 OFFIE-nominated adaptation of Lorca’s Blood Wedding.
It’s a brave choice.
Last performed in London in 2008, this lyrical exploration of the human condition centres around Gerard, a troubled man at the end of youth, trapped by his past.
He relives his vibrant childhood in search of the moment that defined him.
Andy Rush’s depiction of both the man and the boy – with disjointed limbs and halting dialogue – is a highlight.
Sioned Jones makes a papier mache character utterly real, while Toby Gordon supports solidly.
Gill’s story is a detailed but poetic look at the ordinary, and is regarded as one of his finest works.
Mr Richmond-Scott said of Mr Gill’s work: “I was drawn to his incredible, vivid language and his gift for evoking place and childhood. At the heart of this play is a powerful examination of parent, child and love.
“It’s a story that looks at how we deal with the past and old wounds in our quest for reconciliation and peace.”
Movement director Rachel Wise, formerly of the Welsh National Opera, fluidly links the strands while the sound and lighting, in an unusual space, never let the focus slip away from the characters.
Omnibus Theatre, until October 2, 7.30pm (Tue-Sat), 4pm (Sun), Ticket £16 / £13.
To book go to www.omnibus-clapham.org or call 0207 498 4699.