The unimaginable cost of how damaging living near a nuclear power plant is only truly experienced when something goes wrong. The Children by Lucy Kirkwood explores how the disaster affected residents and the surrounding area after an event. Along with bringing back together, three of the nuclear scientists back together, for one last time.
Hazel (Joanne Pearce) and Robin (Brian Protheroe) are living in a temporary house due to their permanent residence falling within the restricted zone which is now shut off after the nuclear leak. Using bottled water, a Geiger meter and the Electricity supply activated by the main grid timer they are living under tight restrictions. Limiting the use of everyday amenities that many of us take for granted.
The house is basic yet functional, which is reflected in the impressive set built by Tim Reed and Daniel Gent I especially liked the attention to detail with cupboards doors showing everyday wear and tear. The outside area is all pebbled with old oil barrels and a line of washing hung out all highlighting how couples’ life has needed to adapt after the disaster.
Gripped in Rosie’s conscience now are the memories of the three of them helping to create and build the nuclear reactor that has recently “gone off”. Now in her 60s and in remission from breast cancer, she appears back into Robin and Hazel’s life. It’s not the warmest of welcomes which is to be expected as things from their past re-emerge. Emotions are overwhelming, misdemeanours and extramarital affairs are exposed.
What struck me was the conviction of Rosie’s principles. Asking the couple to help her stabilise the reactor and relieve the younger scientists from the building to help preserve their health and lives. As they didn’t have anything to do with the reactor’s creation originally.
Understanding how life could be after such a disaster has been bought to life by director Belinda Lang. Combining relationships and revelations in a thought-provoking production. When upon leaving the Theatre you are left questioning what you might do if you were in a similar situation. In the current unsettled world climate, we cannot sadly rule out that nuclear fallout could perhaps be a reality.
The Children is on at the Salisbury Playhouse between 7th-23rd April. Please use the link below for further information and to book tickets.
Photo credit Marc Brenner