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© Bex Kemp 2018


Joan MacLeod

Anchor 1

Venue: Finborough Theatre

Director: Gemma Aked-Priestley

In a quaint pink smock, shapeless white leggings and mucky trainers, Langley takes hold of the audience’s attention with sticky hands. The bare podium of Bex Kemp’s set reinforces Gracie’s small stature as she attempts to take care of her endlessly growing family.

With such a small space it can be tempting to fill the stage with gimmick props but I admire set and costume designer Kemp’s bravery in leaving the stage bare throughout. Nothing distracts or deflects us from Gracie’s story.

Gemma Aked-Priestley directs the piece fluently, using every inch of Bex Kemp’s tiny set. The simple triangular platform hints at a mountain, a chest, a cell, and, in the play’s closing moments, a changing-room in which Gracie struggles out of her prairie frock and dares to try on modern clothes.

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