Review: Border Line

Where does a person turn when a seemingly harmless friendship starts to feel obsessive and unhealthy, and what defines the difference between the two? – Ruby Clarke

Postcard Theatre, a company based in the North West, has teamed up with Riding Lights Theatre Company to make their debut with Ruby Clarke’s brand new play ‘Border Line’. In just over an hour, audiences were pulled into a rapidly accelerating whirlpool that transformed a lighthearted story into a heavy drama.

Border Line begins with Claire (Jenny Owen) catching up with her friend Jacky (Amey Woodhall) at her house. The two women are soon interrupted however by Claire’s new colleague Stella (Julia Walsh) who invites herself into Claire’s home with no understanding of social etiquette. Described as a pushover, Claire is unable to express her discomfort as Stella continues to invade her private space. Soon the situation spirals out of control and Claire seeks help from the police –only to be informed that a lack of concrete proof against Stella means they can offer little assistance. As her close friend Jacky fails to understand her fear and frustration, an increasingly isolated Claire decides to take matters into her own hands.

Playwright Ruby Clarke and director John-Mark Reid’s attention to detail brought together a mix of comedy, powerful dialogue and sparkling performances from the cast.

The remarkable production was aided greatly by its minimal, yet deliberate, staging. It allowed the lighting to find its focus effortlessly, creating a homely, yet at times intimidating atmosphere as the drama swelled. The play features only three characters, leaving Jacky and Stella to steal the spotlight for the first 20 minutes. However, as Claire shrugged off her nerves, it was a scintillating performance all around from the main character. A mix of fear and hopelessness slowly got the better of her, creating a fury that brought the rest of the cast’s performances to another level.

Jenny Owen (Claire)
Jenny Owen (Claire) – Photos: Courtesy of Postcard Theatre

A couple of small details during the change of scenes could be improved, most noticeably when Claire left for work and Stella sneaked into her flat. However, as with the one or two technicalities backstage and in the dialogue, this made little impact on the sublime story. Playwright Ruby Clarke and director John-Mark Reid’s attention to detail brought together a mix of comedy, powerful dialogue and sparkling performances from the cast. The result being a very joyful evening by the River Ouse with plenty of important messages and questions left for audiences to ponder.

Postcard Theatre will continue their tour in Salford and Preston after their venture in York.

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