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First Published 30 May 2014, Last Updated 6 August 2014

What’s it all about?

For anyone prone to dabbling in some subtle anthropological observation on their commute – that’s pretending to read when really eavesdropping your neighbour’s phone call by the way – you’re sure to agree that the idea of setting a play on the top deck of a city bus is a genius move.

Rachel De-lahay – named Most Promising Playwright by the Evening Standard not too long ago – certainly thought so and in her latest play we watch the action unfold on Birmingham’s number 11 bus, where a pair of cocksure teenagers flirt, banter and make sense of the world together.

As their relationship unfolds, from aggressive beginnings to something more tender, somewhere on the bus route a grown-up daughter arrives bruised and battered on her mother’s doorstep; bag in hand, her own child abandoned at home. Like the title suggests, the stories are woven together and destructive patterns of behaviour uncovered.

Who’s in it?

Danusia Samal and Toyin Omari-Kinch take on the roles of teenagers Demi and Malachi, each as sparky and witty as the other. Samal captures a girl far more grown-up than her years, her bookish, confident self-built persona occasionally faltering to reveal the well-hidden vulnerable, lost child beneath. In contrast, Omari-Kinch’s hilarious false bravado and inventive tall stories are as clear as his raging hormones.

Weaving the parallel story are Janice McKenzie as the tough as nails Phyllis and Sarah Manners as her daughter who always seems one small stumble away from a fatal fall.

What should I look out for?

De-lahay’s incredible dialogue that zings off the stage and crafts a compelling and ultimately devastating story.

Who was in the press night crowd?

We spotted two of the five on stage siblings soon to be seen in the Tricycle’s next offering The Colby Sisters Of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Patricia Potter and Claire Forlani; the latter with her husband and fellow actor Dougray Scott.

In a nutshell?

Rachel De-lahay lives up to her promise with another electric urban drama.

What’s being said on Twitter?

‏@TashanSD: Went to see @Rachel_Delahay play ‘Circles’ at the Tricycle tonight…great writing and charm, but ouch did it hurt!

@filmgirlcate: Tricycle theatre’s CIRCLES by @Rachel_Delahay is a breath of fresh air. Recommend.

Will I like it?

Relevant, frightening and revealing, if you’re looking for an engrossing – and swift, at just 70 minute – drama to keep you thinking long after you’ve left the theatre, then this is for you.


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