Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World
by Louis de Bernieres

at the Burton Taylor Theatre


One Sunday morning, a cast of six depict the lives of a multitude of characters living in Earlsfield - ‘the centre of the world’, in the recent past. They are a rich mixture of old and young, posh and otherwise, ethnic and cockney. It is an age of contradictions, mad political correctness, parochialism, and remarkable productivity. Theirs is a world where wearing black at funerals is banned because it is racialist, and one character (cigarette in hand) sports a T-shirt bearing the words, ‘Our healthier nation’. To be philosophical about life is not to think too much about it. The play exposes the texture of a community in change, and so is probably as good a centre of our world as any: ‘here be the people that make the city new’, they proclaim.

The actors portray an array of folk with humour, affection, and exaggeration, at best highlighting their stereotypical tendencies, and essential human qualities. Members of the cast also take turns in being the narrator of events. The play, which was written for radio, allows plenty of opportunity for the actors to demonstrate their versatility in many roles, and as storytellers. As a whole, the group succeed in conveying the movement and the mood of the piece. They project the distinctive oration and lyrical moments of the radio-play, whilst giving it a life on the stage, imaginatively translating it into a visual show, colourful and dynamic, and so fully engaging.

Individually there are particularly strong performances from Andy King and Amara Karan, who effortlessly switch from role to role, and betray none of the self-consciousness occasionally perceptible in other members of the cast. Amara Karan commands particular stage presence. As a narrator, she brings out with a clarity of tone the rhythms and poetry in the piece. She is a captivating storyteller, and so ensures the play is a pleasure to watch and to hear.

By Stephanie Kitchen 11.06.02