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Review: Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem, at Old Red Lion Theatre

17 May, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Madeleine Bowyer in Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem. Photo: Ali Wright

BROMLEY Bedlam Bethlehem explores the cyclical nature of pain in families and how trauma is often passed through the generations.

In the middle there is Sarah (Madeleine Bowyer) who has to stabilise both her alcoholic father (Dan Mullane) and her bulimic son studying law at university (Daniel Rainford).

Mullane is excellent, beginning by recounting his childhood in Ireland where he was abandoned as a baby by his mother and raised by “bitches”, aka nuns. When first seen, he is only wearing pants and swigging from a bottle of vodka, a poignant metaphor for a man who has progressed little from an infant. Mullane, a last-minute addition to the cast, deserves praise for his depiction of the needy and depressive grandfather.

Sarah, a Bromley council worker, sees her world fall apart when her estranged father dies by suicide while her son is threatened with getting kicked out of Cambridge University after failing to take his exams.

The play is non-linear with the central moment the suicide. The lighting is well thought out and the red hue used in the “before” scenes ensures the characters look younger and makes the scenes believable.

The play is an engaging one which prompts you to think about how pain is often out of your control.

Until May 25
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