Savannah Bay

18 October 2019 | 3:16 pm | Irene Bell

"[T]his show doesn't challenge or inspire much." Pic by Jack Dixon-Gunn.

Marguerite Duras’ Savannah Bay is subtle, telling a story through its omissions rather than its inclusions. It’s hard to make the text engaging to an audience, with only two characters and very little movement, and dialogue that meanders through memories. 

Annie Thorold plays The Young Woman who comes every day to take care of Madeleine, an ageing actress, played by Brenda Palmer. As The Young Woman tries to pull a story of love and tragedy from Madeleine’s memory, Madeleine struggles to decide whether she wants to return to the past. After all, at some point in our lives, we must let the past go. The two have a lovely chemistry and the care they take with the characters is clear. 

Director Laurence Strangio has staged a delicate piece of theatre that pays full homage to Duras’ text. However, this show doesn’t challenge or inspire much. The lighting design by Claire Springett brings quiet beauty of this show, with her subtle changes and shifts giving the text and its meandering between art and reality context. 

This is a play that only has its words to take the audience on a journey. This time, the words are not enough.