(sorry) at The Door at Birmingham Rep

Looking at various articles in the media, it seems many news outlets find themselves incapable of going a month without using the term millennial, immediately followed by an onslaught of unreasonable and exacerbated accusations. As this so-called collective of societal assassins are – apparently – responsible for “killing marmalade”, “killing the movie business”, and have already “ruined brunch”, it is a miracle that we as a species find the will to get up in the morning.

Perhaps then it is reassuring that, in an era of clickbait and misinformation, writer Susie Sillett and performer Phoebe Frances Brown – two of these aforementioned millennials – have come together to produce (sorry): a series of monologues that unveil the true nature of the beast. Revolving around an unnamed woman, the piece focuses on three snapshots of her life, starting at age 23. Switching between real-time conversations and internal commentary, we are given a detailed and personal perspective on each scene, as even the simplest of scenarios evokes something truly profound.

Far too many plays have tried, and failed to do what (sorry) has done. Thanks to Sillett’s thoughtful, intelligent writing, and Brown’s evocative and nuanced performance, this is an exciting and engaging piece that stands out from others like it. Under the direction of Jennifer Davis, Brown’s performance carries a comedic and emotional drive that strengthens the honesty of the piece. Her command of the space is definite, and she varies the size of her performance often, creating a dynamic range throughout.

Technically, there is not a weak link either. Iain Armstrong’s subtle sound design fitted the story beautifully. Alongside a captivating use of lighting, and an intricate yet simplistic set consisting of a paper circle, each design element has clearly been well developed. The fact that the set is also going to be recycled following the show’s run shows that there is an integrity here: the message of the play lines up with how the production is being handled.

Productions like (sorry) are a theatrical triumph. Although at times the comedic side of the writing doesn’t quite land, it is nevertheless a great example of how truthful theatre can move an audience, leaving me feeling insignificant, yet simultaneously optimistic. Rehumanising millennials is a challenge when misleading headlines sell so well, but with something as clear and open as this, we come one step closer to understanding, and another step away from division.   ★★★★☆    Jeremy Ulster   10th November 2017