Recently I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to see Out of the Dark at the Rose Theatre in Kingston. The play was based around the story of parents who’s newborn child Lily, is diagnosed with a rare neurological condition at six months old. The only way Lily’s parents can understand her condition is by linking it to space, believing that her brain is a galaxy and meteors are the parts that are damaging her brain. The plot is about constantly being in and out of hospital, and additionally life having its up and downs. Written by Suzy Gill, the play was spoken in word poetry and was in first person which made the audience feel pathos for the parents as what they were saying was honest .With a cast of only two actors and located in the Studio at the Rose Theatre, the small and intimate space made the play feel personal. ‘He’ Lily’s father was played by Alex Stedman, who’s theatre work includes Return to Elm House at the Battersea Arts Centre and other great shows. Lisa Zahra took on the role of ‘She’ the mother of Lily. Lisa’s theatre work consists of Macbeth at the National Theatre and many more.   


At first sighting of the set the audience could see metallic silver spheres hanging by string from the studio ceiling, a pale blue lighting and mist all around the theatre as well as a hanging bulb that was centre stage. The impression the set gave of was a galaxy, or possibly a moon. From the start of the play Stedman and Zahra alternated lines quickly, with their lines being short sentences or just words that created the setting of the scenes. Sentences were repeated throughout the play, with the sentence ‘snap, crackle’ being a trigger line for the family to go to the hospital for Lily’s treatment. In addition the sentences increased in length and there was more dialogue between the two actors in the second half of the play, compared to minimal dialogue in the first half. Alex used effective acting techniques to convey an optimistic man who is trying his best as a father, and Lisa adopted a pragmatic and slightly sarcastic character which made an interesting contrast between the couples characteristics. Mimi G an audience member commented ‘As a mother I found this play very poignant. Both actors were amazing; for them to be on the stage for over an hour, just the two of them, was incredible’


I would like to commend Jai Morjaria for his excellent work as the lighting designer of this play. The lighting helped to convey and evoke different emotions that the characters were feeling, and the colours were beautifully mixed together highlighting the mixed emotions of the parents. To add Fay Lomas was a brilliant director, and her artistic choices came through clearly during the performance. Thank you to the Rose Theatre for the opportunity to see this play and congratulations to everyone involved for creating a fantastic and moving production.

By Mercedes van Niekerk