As an addendum to Peter Tickler's very good review, I wasn't quite so keen on Snowflake as was he. The Old Fire Station blurb describes it as 'a major new premiere'. Well no, not really. I'd call it a minor work by a very good contemporary dramatist. Mike Bartlett's taken on the difficult task of engaging the audience's attention for the full length of the 45-minute monologue that occupies the whole of Act I. He's tried to have his character Andy, waiting in agonized expectation for his estranged daughter to return home at Christmas, driving off into a variety of byways leading left and right from the main thoroughfare of his exploration of his own feelings, without losing sight of that objective of revealing his concentrated thoughts and emotions. In this I thought him mostly successful, though the Brexit references felt dragged in willy-nilly from a box marked 'relevance at all costs', and the Oxford material - principally referring to the Turl St Kitchen - I didn't think ever amounted to much more than window dressing.
I also felt the play's conclusion, though beautifully lit by Jessica Hung Han Yun, was a major let-down, introducing a tone of sentimentality wholly at odds with the fairly sharp passage of psycho-drama that preceded it. OK, this is the run-up to Christmas, but here was a piece of pure schmaltz.
But there was something that propelled the play into the category of the 'must see' and this was the performance of Racheal Ofori as Natalie, the classic Pinteresque intruder who turns everything on its head. She was electric. Whereas Elliot Levey as Andy was very good in his demanding monologue, you could discern the hours of work solo and with the director he'd put in to hone his performance - the calculation over the length of his pauses, the careful modulations of verbal speed, his choreographed roaming of the space. But Ofori, though she'd of course put in the same long hours with director Clare Lizzimore, gave the impression of utter naturalness in both lithe movement (she even took her curtain bow with delicate grace) and easy speech, conveying a perfect sense of friendliness and human concern tinged at the outer edges with a hint of warning. Her combination of relaxation and internalized energy was remarkable.
This was the best acting performance I've seen this year by a stretch. Aficionados of fine acting should not miss her (the play runs until the 22nd).