Review: Family matters on Belgrade stage

This is my Family, by Tim Firth. Picture by Johan Persson
This is my Family, by Tim Firth. Picture by Johan Persson

This is my family by Tim Firth

Belgrade Theatre

Until Sat 1 Nov

Tim Firth’s new show (Calendar Girls) is told through the songs of 13-year-old Nicky (Evelyn Hoskins). Her mother Yvonne (Clare Burt) and father Steve (Bill Champion) have spent their 17 years of married bliss recounting the mythology of where they met.

Steve’s mother May (Marjorie Yates) moves in to complete the ‘family’.

Nicky wins a competition about home life with the Perrys. The prize is a holiday and Nicky dreams of Patagonia, loved up sister Sian (Rachel Lumberg) dreams of Zanti,

Steve wants to go to Abu Dhabi– but they can’t go because of Gran moving in, and then they can’t go because brother Matt (Terrence Keeley) has just married Rachel in a Druidic wedding.

So where do they go? The past, that’s where. Black Rock Island is now an adventure park on a native American theme and it’s blowing a gale and bucketing down, the bastard orange tent has no instructions because Steve threw them away, there’s no food, no heat and Gran’s gone funny - literally.

Told through the eyes of a 13 year old, this family has its shock therapy at Black Rock Island and learns to look properly at the other people they live with.

I loved particularly the incoherent inarticulateness of Matt learning to voice his thoughts and feelings, and how in the crisis of the holiday his parents do exactly the same thing.

This is a delight.

Rating: 8/10

By Jane Howard