Table by Tanya Ronder is a theatre production based around a table that bears witness to thousands of meals (a handful of which are shown in the play), a corpse resting on its solid timber, sexual acts performed on it, children playing under and around it, being shipped to Africa, as well as being witness to other narratives taking place throughout the years.
Just like the table, we silently witnessed the epic tales from the Best family that spanned more than a century, from a new marriage in 1898, through to the First World War to a missionary outpost in the 1950s, then to a hippy commune in the late 1960s, ending up in London today.
Like the beautifully crafted table, the play also presented some attractive features. The story is extremely complex, with events being shuffled out of sequence- going back to the past, and then the present. However, the play remained polished and solid from the beginning to the very end.
Table is an imaginative, deeply felt production filled with old hymns, intense confrontations, quirky humour, and sudden surprises. The play showcased humour, sadness and excitement of what is to come, as well as being constantly aware of the way people were both shaped and damaged by their parents, all being surrounded by this table that was originally made from love and was filled with marks and scars of family vicissitudes.
With nine cast members and some 23 characters over six generations, the cast Elizabeth/ Sarah (Stacey Duckworth), Jack/ Gideon (Julian Garner), Sister Hope/Stacey/Veronica (Chantelle Jamieson), Michelle/Mother Superior/Barbara (Danielle King), Finley/Anthony/Chris (Mathew Lee), David/Julian (Brendon Miles), Su-Lin/Sister Ruth/Jess (Nicole Pingon), Margaret/Sister Babette/Aisha (Annie Stafford), and Albert/Orion (Charles Upton) did a stellar job from the accents to mastering the hard-work of playing several characters/roles. All of the cast members performed exquisitely, impressively and passionately, which made this play quite memorable!
Table is an interesting and relateable story of dysfunctional family affairs, imperfections of mankind, and the struggles that come with forgiveness as well as coping with drastic change. It was truly a must-watch.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the Box Office.