On Thursday June 30th I was fortunate enough to review Into The West at the Bristol Tobacco Factory Theatre. Presented by the Travelling Light Theatre Company, Into The West returns after a 15 year break for another run and you should definitely try to catch it if you can.
Originally called Tir Na N’og; Into The West, as it’s now called, is a stage adaptation of the 1992 Jim Sheridan film of the same name. Set in Dublin it tells the story of a gypsy family who find and take ownership of a beautiful ghostly white horse which ends up living in their 14th story council flat. As you may expect it’s not long before this is noticed by the neighbours and the horse is taken away. The children, brilliantly acted by Adam J Carpenter and Nina Logue, give chase to reclaim what is rightfully theirs and are taken on an adventure of personal discovery and family revelation out to the West of Ireland on the back of Tir Na N’og, pursued by their Father and the law.
The Travelling Light Theatre Company took it’s name from, quite literally, travelling light. Minimal set and props that could be ‘fitted on top of a Renault 4 and four actors went inside’. Due to the need to take this show abroad the set was designed to be able to fit into a couple of flight cases and 20 years on this is the very same set that toured all over the UK, USA and even Jamaica between 1995 and 2001. The only thing that is different are the faces of the actors and an updated musical score. The music came from multi instrumentalist Thomas Johnson, switching between accordion, violin and guitar he gave the piece a firm grounding in Celtic roots.
The Father (and Grandfather) was excellently played by Craig Edwards who is very well known for his direction work with the Living Spit Theatre Company but it was great to see him on stage this time with a big role to get his teeth into. I particularly enjoyed his turn as a blackberry bush, and his brief role as a police sniffer dog brought the biggest laugh of all.
The theatre was just over half full and it was great to see so many families bringing children along to experience live theatre performance. This show is running until 17th July and I would definitely encourage you to get along and see it if you can. With a running time of 70 minutes it’s suitable for children of 8 years and over and is well worth the trip.
Catch the show at Tobacco Factory Theatre until 17th July.
Review by David Blake