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Review: Black Chiffon, at Park Theatre

26 September, 2019 — By Ezreen Benissan

Abigail Cruttenden in Black Chiffon at Park Theatre. Photo: Mark Douet

FIRST performed in the West End in 1949, Lesley Storm’s Black Chiffon pulls us into the world of the upper middle-class Christie family living in London.

Directed by Clive Brill, this modern rendition explores the nuances of family dynamics, mental health and societal standards in the wake of the Second World War.

When the mother, Alicia (Abigail Cruttenden), is caught stealing a black chiffon dress, her court appearance overshadows the marriage of her son, Roy (Jack Studden) to Louise (Jemima Watling) and casts a dark light on the family’s name.

At times, Alicia’s mental health is treated flippantly and with complete disregard. We subsequently watch as she is interrogated by every family member. However, Cruttenden does a virtuous job at generating impact and evoking emotion; a delicately poignant performance.

Beth Colley’s set design and the lighting by Pip Thurlow worked in harmony to create an ominous presence and a sense of perpetual disorder within the family.

The life of the Christie family initially appears mundane but quickly becomes tense and heightened. The psychological undertones weaved into this play makes Black Chiffon an interesting yet confronting exploration into family discourse.

Until October 12
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