*I received tickets for the show in exchange for this review.
Ohhhh I haven’t been to Chapter in ages, so I was super excited to be asked to review 2023 by Lisa Parry. It’s such a joy to be able to attend events and reach into the mind of talented writers and performers.
Theatre Review: 2023 by Lisa Parry at Chapter#
2023 by Lisa Parry is a story focused on families, heritage and relationships. It follows Mary, an 18 year old young lady who is searching out her biological father, Chris. When they meet Chris has to face up to some harsh truths about his own life and the decision to donate sperm all those years ago.
I was really excited to see this performance, mostly because I love looking into the future and imagining the changes that will possibly take place.
The stage was set with minimal yet effective props, and there were caption integrated into the set, which was very clever and useful throughout for those who needed it. Even though I didn’t need the captions, I thought they were an interesting feature to the set, adding a slightly sci-fi edge to the production.
I really think sperm donation, surrogacy and racial tensions are very current topics. Infertility is a very talked about topic, and one we shouldn’t shy away from. The sadness and the pain resolved through the selflessness of a surrogate is a beautiful thing indeed, but when it comes to Chris’s actions we are asked to question his morals and rash actions throughout the play.
Mary’s anger is performed beautifully by Stephanie Back, and it’s extremely easy to relate to her need for answers. Over the course of the performance she finds answers and, although they’re heartbreaking results, she seems to transform from angry to maturely assessing and moving on.
Being a bit older myself (!) I could probably relate to Chris (Richard Elis) and his husband John (Tom Blumberg) as they discover more about each other and their past and present experiences. I thought Chris was outstanding, and he seemed to deliver a sense of sentimentality and humour all at once, balancing the play out perfectly.
I probably felt for his husband the most, because he seemed to have no control over anything regarding Chris and Mary. His performance felt incredibly genuine and I thought he had the toughest time as a character, with an extremely sad ending to his personal tale.
2023 has been handled with care and understanding, considering the topics involved. I think the dialogue is extremely well written and performed, and the direction works well throughout. I also loved the simplicity of the set and the warm-hearted feeling of inclusivity thanks to the storyline and the captions!
Also, it’s hard not to be drawn in to see this performance thanks to the beautiful advertising (check out the main image above!). If you fancy catching 2023 by Lisa Parry then book your tickets at Chapter now!