As we approach the end of the academic year, you’d expect plays at the Drama Studio to wind down in quality as everyone focuses on exams and dissertations. However Gabriel proved this to be an incorrect assumption.
'Gabriel' by Moira Buffini
Written by Moira Buffini, the play tells the story of a British family during the Nazi occupation of Guernsey who take in an unknown man washed up the beach. The UEA production, co-directed by Betsy Robertson and the aptly named Gabriel Fogarty-Graveson, was a solid performance that left its mark on this year.
The Directors in action.
The actors carried themselves with a consistent and upbeat energy that drove the play during its twoish hour run, even if their performances were of varying levels of ability. Jules Chant-Tuft as Lake and Nina Cavaliero as Jeanne in particular stood out with their strong characterisation of women under the occupation. Cavaliero managed to successfully alternate between sultry, commanding matriarch and terrified mother on multiple occasions, whilst Chant-Tuft’s shrewd and blunt comedic presence was always refreshing.
Cavaliero as Jeanne Chant-Tuft as Lake
Toby Skelton carried out his role as a Nazi with a disturbing ease, in particular his scenes alone with Cavaliero. His and Edward Jones’ conversations in fluent German were also interesting, funny and slightly terrifying to watch.
Von Pfunz confronts Estelle
The set, sound and lighting all worked really well with this play. The actors managed to use every inch of their small and naturalistic setting to drive the play forward. One particular scene comes to mind, when Lily, played by Francesca Thesen, manages to hide Eleni Savvas’ Estelle, in the sink cupboard. All the while, the simple but effective use of lighting and sound also helped solidify the performance.
Lily and Estelle drag 'Gabriel' home
Overall, this was a high quality play that no doubt made an impression on both cast and audience. Hopefully Robertson and Fogarty-Graveson direct more plays, it’d be a waste for them not to.