North West theatre company Theatre By Numbers presented Digging Deep at the newly opened Korova Arts Café and Bar this weekend. The play by Gemma Flannery introduces the audience to two sisters who, throughout the course of the hour long show, try to overcome their differences. We see their relationship unravel and develop in light of both recent and past events that have affected them.
‘Ann and Lucy don't get on, Lucy lives in their grandmas home which has been left to the two sister's and Ann lives with mum and her boyfriend Mike. Ann appears at A and E, where Lucy works, after an incident has taken place the night before, she is then taken by Lucy to stay with her. The sisters try to overcome the distance between them and attempt to repair any damages done to see if they could have a more positive future. At the same time the incident and revelations that appear make this more difficult to do.
A battle between past and present and deciding what lies in the future.’
This show takes you a fast-paced rollercoaster of emotion, one moment comical, the next heart breaking and then back to comical. This is driven by the fantastic direction of Charlie Mortimer, creative director of Theatre By Numbers, and the skill and range of performers Amy Dee and Laura Hills-Leigh.
Dee’s upbeat portrayal of Ann, the younger sister, is refreshing and light but also shows the darker side of the character. She easily flips from happy-go-lucky to volatile to broken without warning. This impressive display by Dee, and gives the audience a vibrant picture of how Ann thinks and feels throughout the play.
Balancing this out is Hills-Leigh’s older sister character Lucy. She is calm and controlled yet Hills-Leigh lets the audience see the cracks that she has been hiding in her day-to-day life. It would be very easy to have both roles as dramatic chaotic women but she brings a much more interesting level by hiding all that chaos under a cloak of maturity.
One of the main themes of Digging Deep is abuse in physical and mental forms. The subject matter is handled delicately by all involved. Charlie Mortimer’s direction holds back the drama of big reveals and plays more with the relationship between the sisters, exploring their feelings and working out what’s really important to them, justice or a simple life.
Gemma Flannery’s writing quickly moves us to the heart of the story while giving us a full picture of the two sisters. A real highlight was watching the sisters pretending to be their grandparents, utilising props and fantastic physical performance. The witty writing also brings forward the stories of around five other characters, through the eyes of Lucy and Ann.
Flannery then brings us to an ending that presents more questions than answers, making the audience continue to address the issues of abuse even after leaving the venue.
A must see for theatre goers and a great welcome to Korova, whose facilities complement Digging Deep to create a fun and thought-provoking evening.
Digging Deep can still be seen at Studio Salford Mon 3rd and Wed 5th June Tickets available here