REVIEW: This is Living, Trafalgar Studios

Liam Borrett’s play examines what it would be like if you were given a chance to say a proper goodbye to the one you loved. 

Production Image - This is Living - Michael Socha and Tamla Kari (courtesy Alex Harvey-Brown) (5).jpg
Tamla Kari and Michael Socha in This is Living. Photo courtesy of Alex Harvey-Brown. 

What would happen if you were given the chance to say a proper goodbye to the person you loved? This is what Liam Borrett explores in this heartbreaking and tender play, brought magnificently to life by Tamla Kari and Michael Socha in this intimate production.

Alice’s death is dealt with before the play begins, so this sharp and stylish production concentrates on the struggle of Alice to accept that she has died and Mike to try and pick up the pieces after her death.

The production flashes between the past and present, at times quite abruptly and takes some getting used to but once it settles down is effective in showcasing Alice and Mike’s relationship from beginning to end.

Tamla Kari as Alice is feisty with a sparkly personality that shines throughout. Her mannerisms as Alice struggles to cope with the afterlife and losing her grip on life is almost painful to watch. It seems as though she has had to draw upon a lot of emotional strength for this role, yet like the play itself nothing is overplayed and Kari provides a great balance of emotions throughout.

In contrast to this, Michael Socha as Mike has perhaps slightly less to work with – particularly in the first half, in which his character seems almost numb with grief. But even in the flashback moments Mike isn’t a particularly confident character, as his attempts to chat up Alice show. Yet in the second act, the depth of his despair is slowly and brilliantly revealed, giving Socha a real opportunity to reveal Mike’s inner torment.

But together, the balance between the two characters are just right as they attempt to come to terms with what has happened from different perspectives.

Liam Borrett, who has also directed the production as well as writing the play, has created something that is bittersweet, full of memories and a piece of drama that everyone in the audience can relate to and heartbreaking from beginning to end – particularly when the conversation turns to their three year old daughter.

The staging is simple and effective, thanks to the designs of Sarah Beaton that allows the story to be told but flexible enough to let the audience use their imagination.

This is Living is a delicate and sensitive piece of drama that is beautiful as it is difficult to watch, that has the ability to leave your heart physically aching. A simple, effective and brilliant production.

This is Living is on at the Trafalgar Studios until the 11th June. To book tickets visit: ATG Tickets ,, Discount, Last, Theatre Tickets, Love, Theatre and UK

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