Part of 59E59's 2018 'Brits Off Broadway' series, this world premiere drama is about how we choose to see things and live in a world riven with tension, anxiety, and division. More…
Sophie and Tom's relationship fell apart in the aftermath of a catastrophe. Four years later, as they come face to face once again, the aftershocks of that fateful day can still be felt.
“Birch’s intense, riveting drama...A simmering verbal confrontation that starts out strong and never looks back as the two-character play careens forward...A beautifully constructed back and forth that seems to never stop for air...Mercatali keeps the production’s brisk pace on track...The tension never lets up. You find yourself hanging on every word, engrossed in the dynamic of two fine actors and their absorbing characters." Full Review
“All the makings of sparse British play with much cerebral potential...Although covering so much ground in such a short period of time borders on inundation, the play is so expertly written and the story so carefully unveiled that this potential excess is not too negatively felt...Diveney and Rattray tell the story with clear talent and skilled professionalism...Director David Mercalati effectively stages the actors...He expertly shaped the piece in line with the playwright’s intent." Full Review
The success of Birch's play depends on a series of carefully timed revelations...Mercatali's direction of this taut, brief two-hander builds successfully to a climactic speech...A wounding recollection of two lives caught up in a disaster that became a political flashpoint and tabloid fodder...A tale of making decisions with far-reaching consequences, and of traumas that continue to reverberate until the present day...Has much to say about the sour, pre-Brexit mood of Britain.” Full Review
"It’s tense and exhilarating, as directed neatly and with an increasing level of anxiety by David Mercatali...Starring two very capable and gifted actors, Lisa Diveney and Paul Rattray, who do a sexually charged dance around one another, scratching at the pain in their souls that is just itching under their skin...It’s a beautifully urgent and electrifying tango, frighteningly revolving around fear, judgement, punishment, and panic attacks." Full Review
"The head-scratching conclusion of this otherwise flavorful onion seems to belong to some other dramatic veggie…While the play's multiple issues may sound like playwriting overkill, Birch juggles them sufficiently well to hold our interest if not necessarily to convince us one way or the other about any of them…Rattray, a pleasant-looking guy with a rich Welsh accent, and Diveney, a pretty woman, are fully invested…regardless of the audience in the tiny venue being only inches away." Full Review
"This gripping opening is ultimately squandered by a series of clumsy revelations and awkward sermonizing on contemporary politics, at which point the characters cease to be complex individuals and become stand-ins for competing ideologies...The dialogue is fast paced, full of stops and starts, which all works very well under David Mercatali’s tight direction, until the move away from mystery and tension and toward all-out exposition and speechifying." Full Review
"Tremor is more of an actors' exercise than it is a play. The two-character work concerns Sophie and Tom who come together for the first time in years. They are two of seven who survived a bus accident which killed 32 and which may have been a terrorist act on the part of the bus-driver, who, we're eventually told, was 'Muslim.' Like so much else that transpires in this 60-minute dialogue by Brad Birch, it's an unresolved enigma." Full Review
“Starts off promisingly with an air of mystery and tension...Unfortunately...it lands with a thud at the end of a lot of lengthy speeches leading to faulty conclusions...Neither of the characters is developed much, not through the performances nor Mercatali's direction, which keeps them emotionally detached...It appears that the playwright wants to use the forum to talk about socio-political issues...He conflates too many separate ideas that do not support the play's conclusions.” Full Review
for a previous production “Raw and relevant...It’s thrilling...Diveney and Rattray are excellently cast...It’s as much about the actors’ ability and chemistry as it is about Mercatali’s command of the production...The script fails to drop enough hints and makes the reveal far too sudden. The enormity of the moment is by no means diminished, but Birch is asking the audience to make one leap too many...An extremely balanced and thought-provoking script, and Mercatali has moulded it into must-watch theatre.” Full Review
for a previous production “A timely, relevant new play...Rattray and Diveny bring a tangible nerviness to their portrayal of the mistrustful pair...Dialogue is snappy and believable, and if some speeches seem over-rehearsed, it is perhaps forgivable, since each has spent much time in deep, solitary reflection. Birch allows the narrative to unfold with admirable subtlety; this ebbs away as we near a denouement which is perhaps too literal...Still, 'Tremor' is an absorbingly tense hour of drama.” Full Review
for a previous production “Diveney and Rattray carry the piece fluently...Staging ‘Tremor’ in the round, while sometimes dizzying for an audience following the actors, is cleverly directed by Mercatali to follow the dialogue and action of the play...An intelligently put together production, an appropriate showcase for Birch’s writing. Distilling some of the biggest questions about the world we live in through a single event and relationship, it’s at times overwhelming...But Birch writes a succinct snapshot.” Full Review
for a previous production “Diveney and Rattray excel in their portrayal of ex-lovers inextricably linked and divided by past actions. There’s real tension in the pair’s sparring...Sadly, though, Birch’s slow-burning script lurches to a strangely hurried ending that’s rather too on-the-nose politically. Any ambiguity suddenly crumbles away, even rounded off with familiar political slogans to clunkily underline the play’s message. An unsatisfying conclusion to an otherwise intriguing play.” Full Review
for a previous production “Feels fresh, with conversations that veer towards the poetic but not the contrived...There are times when the imbalance between the characters doesn’t quite hit the mark...As the play progresses, they feel less like people and more like mouthpieces for differing political views...Engaging and politically astute, there’s a lot to like about 'Tremor.' Its closing moments, while perhaps slightly heavy-handed, nevertheless pack a punch." Full Review
for a previous production “An estranged couple’s struggle to come to terms with past trauma is hampered by a poor choice of set design...Diveney and Rattray are very able actors but, restricted to standing or moving around the circle...their characters come across as constructs...Information is too limited to allow the audience a view of what actually happened. The suspense...feels like a manipulative device; the production presents, without quite satisfactorily dramatising, disturbing polarities in our society.” Full Review
for a previous production “‘Tremor’ has the potential be a divisive, anxiety-ridden performance, exploring two vastly different personalities that present strongly opposing ideologies about politics, religion, resilience, and justice...The staging is clever and representative, but the acting and the content of the play don’t quite have enough weight to make it dynamic and carry it off. ‘Tremor’ has potential, and it’s not unenjoyable. But, this performance smacks of cliché, and its lack of dynamism is disappointing.” Full Review
See it if you appreciate the insidious building of intensity through pitch-perfect colloquial dialogue impeccably acted.
Don't see it if A Welsh accent is a problem for you or you require spectacle to be engaged. The set is minimal, which adds to its brilliance.
See it if You like 2 handers in which the subject matter is only revealed after a lot of dialogue. You are OK with no sets, it’s a bare stage.
Don't see it if You are looking for laughs. There is not a funny moment ! You don’t like plays that use heavily accented English. Lots of tense moments.
See it if you enjoy great acting using a minimal set, and are OK with the whole show being 2 people face to face in a deep discussion
Don't see it if you expect an elaborate set, lots of movement and action. don't enjoy dark drama, don't enjoy politics being introduced
See it if you like well written, talky shows that make you think.Acting is very good.Back story is slowly revealed.Has important things to say.
Don't see it if you want a straightforward play.This show is thought provoking, well acted, well structured.It's a play that gets under your skin.Relevant.
See it if you enjoy intense two-person drama with a slowly unraveling story which leaves you guessing about what actually happened until the end.
Don't see it if you only enjoy musicals, two-person drama with minimal staging (none) is not for you; you need a tidy plot line with no surprises.
See it if for a one act, 2 person bare-staged play that is thought provoking, interesting and not immediately predictable.
Don't see it if don't like to listen to long dialogue. For a tight easily resolved play or If you don't like to leave theater thinking about what just saw.
See it if you might like a 60-minute play that builds to slowly reveal about the characters and the reasons for encounter. The ending makes you think.
Don't see it if you prefer exposition to be revealed right away (takes some brain work to process play), you don't like intimate in-the-round seating
See it if you like timely and realistic shows that look at the world around us and hard decisions that people make.
Don't see it if you want something that serves as an escape from the current political climate.
See it if Estranged couple warily circling on a spare circular mat, wrestling with the aftermath of trauma, ultimately reacting in opposite directions
Don't see it if You have trouble with British accents You dislike a play that is largely an internal drama that unfolds through discourse rather than action
See it if You are interested in what two actors on a bare stage can create. Just two people reliving a past tragedy trying to make sense of it.
Don't see it if Almost seemed like an actor's studio exercise.
See it if you find dialogue without action interesting. You get inside the heads of two different people who react & deal with a life-changing trauma.
Don't see it if you don't have the patience to listen to long dialogues with lots of tension and anxiety. Don't like shows that are spare with raw emotions.
See it if you're interested in witnessing the destroyed relationship of 2 survivors of a horrific bus crash, both coping differently with their PTSD
Don't see it if you cannot listen to even a vague recount of a (possible) drunk driving accident examining racial prejudice, detachment & guilt
See it if you want a plain Jane play that does not delve deep enough into the characters. Unemotional show about unfortunate incident.
Don't see it if If you want a play that could have been more. If you like a play that leaves you wanting. It is both confusing at times and very slow at oth
See it if You like intimate performance settings (two rows of seats surrounding the actors) and challenging moral and emotional investigations.
Don't see it if Minimalist staging and non-stop dialog between two characters aren't your thing, or if you need clear tidy right/wrong resolutions.
See it if you'll enjoy seeing a play in which "what happened" is revealed very slowly so that you won't know what really happened until the very end.
Don't see it if you prefer fully-staged plays or prefer light fare; you dislike political plays.
See it if You don't mind a play with two performers in an intimate theater and how a bad accident affected their lives more than we could tell.
Don't see it if You need to see a musical and you like elaborate staging. You don't like non stop dialogue between the two performers for 60 minutes.
See it if You enjoy an intimate setting and a well-written, thoughtful play. Superb acting especially Lisa Diveney.
Don't see it if You prefer musicals, light comedies or big Broadway productions.
See it if You would like to see an intelligent in-depth psychological study; a story unveiled exquisitely over the course of the performance.
Don't see it if You prefer a story line packed with events, or expect large cast or high production value
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