Justice is served to wrongdoers, criminals will be inevitably caught and appropriately punished, and everyone has a voice that can be heard.
These are but a few of society’s naive beliefs that the play, Tulips (by director, Adrian Tang, and theatre company, Exited by Panda), criticises by showing a morally hypocritical and deluded world where wrongdoers escape justice, criminals avoid their capture and punishment, and the voices of abused victims are either unheard or silenced.
The play revolves around a sensitive man named Alex (Michael Beakhouse) doing everything he can to peacefully mend the damaged relationship between him and his frantic wife, Scarlet (Heather MacEachern). Alongside this, Alex meets ex-footballer, Jason (Peter Taverner), who is recovering from a disastrous marriage with his ex-wife with the help of kind-hearted social service worker, Christine (Victoria Paterson). As the two men confront each other, they begin to reveal the darkest parts of their relationships.
With such an emotionally heavy plot, diverse characters and allusions to real social issues, it was essential that this play needed to have superb actors if it was going to execute all these three aspects well.
Fortunately, the cast was outstanding as they put every ounce of their energy, effort and enthusiasm into playing their complex and flawed characters.
Michael Beakhouse brilliantly plays the understandably naive and sentimental Alex who strongly believes that he can repair the emotional damage between him and his wife. Sometimes, you scorn him for his naivety and other times you feel downright sorry for him due to the emotional mess he is in.
Heather MacEachern is amazing onstage when she acts as the seemingly bubbly Scarlet that begins to reveal a more disturbing side to her.
Peter Taverner gives an excellent performance as the hot-tempered, yet caring Jason who has a heart-breaking backstory.
Victoria Paterson, despite having the simplest role to play, manages to make her character just as interesting and captivating as the others as she fantastically acts as the self-composed Christine who is not afraid to approach and help emotionally unstable victims of abuse.
When all these characters come onstage and interact with each other, you see and experience an incredible blend of tension, sadness, fear, anger, anxiety and hope. Even though the play does heavily focus on the emotional turmoil and instability of characters, it never comes across as being mawkish, exaggerated or petty when the characters undergo mental pain because their feelings and reactions (in response to the horrifying experiences they undergo) are realistic and understandable.
If you want to see something that will make you make you question social justice and society’s morality, go and watch Tulips now.
Tulips runs from the 25th-29th June at the Woodley Theatre in Woodley.
If you want to book tickets, click here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/woodleytheatre