The performance opens with a scene of scattered chairs, stacked up high along the back of the stage. The chairs catch the lights and the mood of the room seems to shift around as the audience take their seats.
The lights cut to black and a sleepy figure appears. Reluctant to get out of bed on a weekday morning, she tosses and turns, working out the day. We get to know the character a little before she rises and wanders over to her brother’s bedroom, needing to borrow his phone. We hear an exchange between a brother and a sister.
Kiza Deen is the only actress and she stands alone on stage delivering the whole performance as a monologue. As we go through the morning she brings other characters to life, excelling in keeping the crowd enchanted, through subtle hand placements, and different energies, it is clear to the audience which of them is talking. Throughout a day in the life of this sister, we also meet her father, mother, brother and work colleagues. The ambience of the street, and what happens on her commute to and from work are all effectively portrayed through sound and lighting.
There are chuckles from the audience as we get to know the dynamics of the family in the kitchen. Burnt bits in the porridge! The mother who’s been there and got the ticket, only asks if her daughter has enough clothes on. “She’ll learn”. We witness everyday life unfold within this close-knit family.
Hearing what the sister thinks of her work colleagues creates more laughs – she is a strong, independent woman and does not involve herself in their silly games.
As the afternoon wears on she receives a text from her mother asking that she comes home. She is confused and we the audience wonder with her what it is all about. She realises the urgency and gets home as quickly as she can.
When we return to the house with her the lights are not shining as brightly as they had been in the family home. There are muddy footprints in the good room where we have already learned not even the family are allowed to venture. The tension ramps as we hear policemen speaking to her Dad – they are finding it difficult to deliver the tragic news. The grief felt by the family is brilliantly observed and communicated to the audience.
We found the performance captivating, touching as it does on a subject that affects so many families. We would thoroughly recommend this play.
random runs at Leeds Playhouse until Saturday 16 February. Age: 14+. Contains strong language and descriptions of violence. Tickets cost £10-£12.50. Box Office (0113) 213 7700; leedsplayhouse.org.uk/events/random
This post was written by Jessica Penn and Andy Baker as part of the South Leeds Goes To The Playhouse partnership
Photo: Kiza Deen in random at Leeds Playhouse by Anthony Robling
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