Last night I had the very real privilege of seeing ‘4 Stages’ at the Bread and Roses. This new play by BC Allen made me laugh and cry. My one regret was not being better supplied in the tissue department. This is a gorgeous and special piece of new writing.
There is so much to love about ‘4 Stages’ it is hard to know where to start. First off, the cast are a joy to watch. The chemistry between them is palpable, as they bring to life this life-affirming story of love, friendship and family. They inhabit their characters with a deceptive ease and fluidity, that drives home the humanity and authenticity of the writing. Andre Skeet, Brett Allen and Natasha Redhead could not have been better cast as Alex, Ben and Cat.
Director Natasha Kathi-Chandra has made the most of the intimate space at the Bread and Roses to really bring out the warmth and emotion of the piece. A really clever touch I particularly enjoyed is the body language between actors during the scene changes. A smart way to set the tone for the next scene. No moment is wasted of the 1hr 15 minute running time.
The use of music brilliantly amplifies the emotional beats of the play, such a resonant use of soundtrack, really tapping into the way music intertwines with key moments in our lives. Although it did almost break me in the final scene.
I don’t want to give too much away, because the charm and power of this show comes from taking the journey with these characters. All I will say is that having taken a deceptively simple premise – two best friends meet up for games night 4x nights across a calendar year – Brett (C) Allen has created an evocative, authentic and moving piece of theatre. When I laughed, and I laughed a lot, I laughed loud, and when I cried, the tears flowed (although the sobbing was the person behind me, I’ve mastered the art of silent crying).
I can not recommend this show highly enough, and it certainly deserves to run to full houses. ‘4 Stages’ runs at the Bread and Roses at 7.30pm until 26th October. Treat yourselves, and don’t forget to take tissues.