Mountains, directed by Jennifer Tang, is a breathtaking evocative new play. The story follows Helen, a young girl who has grown up in the UK and has always felt like a part of her story is missing. Amongst the bustling streets of Hong Kong, she meets her grandmother and steps into a past of shocking family secretes that will change her life forever. The time travel theme to this story is precious, we appreciate the relationship between the granddaughter and grandmother as they are appreciating each other.
Set in the studio space at the Royal Exchange Theatre, the space is intimate. The audience is small and we feel part of the action. The set is largely static yet has movable parts which works well for the many scene changes. Accompanied by physical theatre, sensory elements and loud music, we see bold and brass images which help to move us and the characters from scene to scene. The naturalistic dialogue blended with the abstract and surreal movements from the ensemble characters carry impact and are complimented perfectly with the artistic music choices. One stand out moment is a torture scene, which is visually heart wrenching and verbally distressing. We are so close to the horrifying, brutal images of a girl in despair and yet so powerless in the need to want to help. A breathless moment.
The entire cast is strong and each performer brings something different to the play. A special mention must be made to Ruth Gibson whose characters Miss Woodman and Miss Price are a wanted presence on stage. Her comedy timing is pure and these moments are a breath of fresh air against the darker, tenser moments. The balance is on point. Moments of song, and real cooking gives the play a quirky edge. The play is clever and oozes passion. The visual elements are outstanding and give a dreamy, intense and beautiful atmosphere.
Written by @BeccaPhillipson