Opening Night rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Bijan Sheibani is at the helm of a triumph as Circle Mirror Transformation, Annie Baker’s award-winning play, gets its Northern Premiere on HOME’s stage. Sheibani’s sensitive direction presents audiences with a simple yet thought provoking production, played out by a stellar cast including seasoned performers Amelia Bullmore and Con O’ Neill.
Set in Vermont, New England it focuses on a creative adult acting class where five unlikely strangers, from different walks of life, meet at their local community centre. Over six weeks of drama exercises and games their lives become entangled and transformed in the most humorous and moving ways.
Bullmore is perfectly cast as the gentle free-spirited drama teacher Marty who has enthusiastically put together the unique group. She is joined by O’ Neill who plays newly divorced Schultz, struggling to come to terms with his marriage breakdown, Sian Clifford as unlikely siren Theresa, Yasmin Paige, self-conscious high school student Lauren, and Anthony Ofoegbu as Marty’s subdued husband, James.
Together the stalwart actors form a tight ensemble where everyone has their moment to shine as they carefully peel through each layer of their characters. There’s a real truth in their performances which engages the audience throughout and, along with Sheibani’s use of Baker’s lengthy pauses, also helps to highlight the believability of the piece. It is a welcome decision to have no interval during the one hour forty-five minute duration of play as it would have broken the fluidity that is so beautiful about the piece.
You can fully understand why Circle Mirror Transformation was voted one of the top 10 plays of 2009 by the New York Times, Time Out, and The New Yorker – it washes over you, making you smile, laugh and feel a sense of connected emotion which leaves you feeling hugely satisfied.
Runs at HOME until Saturday 17th March