Pomona

Published September 15, 2015

What’s it all about?

This is the stuff nightmares are made of. A mysterious tale of twin sisters who disappear from the face of the earth, of brothels where both sex and organs are currency, of an octopus-headed girl who controls who lives and who dies. In Alistair McDowall’s mindboggling, darker than dark fantasy all roads lead back to Pomona, a place forgotten by its city and shrouded in secrecy.

But as time shifts, stories evolve and paths connect, dices are rolled and an epic game begins to play; the lines of fantasy and reality increasingly blurring.

Who’s in it?

First seen at the Orange Tree Theatre in 2014 when it was hailed by many as the play of the year, much of Pomona’s original cast have reprised their roles for its National Theatre transfer. Guy Rhys is astonishing as property mogul Zeppo, only there are no sharp suits and silver-tongued rhetoric for this landlord; instead Rhys gives a livewire performance as a terrifyingly off-balance fantastical figure with a passion for chicken nuggets, dressed in dirty y-fronts and ambiguously stained vest.

He is just one of many nightmarish characters who watch over the surreal events, for Pomona is where the broken, damaged, lost or unstable are drawn. From Sean Rigby as a man trapped in a cycle of violence to Rochenda Sandall’s dystopian pimp Gale.

What should I look out for?

Rebecca Humphries. She is shattering as Fay, a prostitute on the run from an abusive husband. With hollow, desperate eyes but a heart still capable of tenderness – a rare thing in Pomona – she manages to bring an element of warmth to an otherwise ice cold atmosphere.

Moments of unexpected lightness in McDowall’s intelligent and darkly funny script that veers wildly from naturalistic wit to vivid surrealism.

In a nutshell?

Swap linear time and the rules of reality for the mind-boggling embrace of Alistair McDowall’s dystopian, dark and thought-provoking fantasy.

What’s being said on Twitter?

Will I like it?

If you’re squeamish at the sight of blood or overly sensitive to talk of organ harvesting, maybe not. But for anyone open to an evening of theatre that is both blood chillingly frank and compellingly fantastical, all roads are leading you to see Pomona. Truly unforgettable theatre.

Pomona is playing until 10 October. You can book tickets through the National Theatre’s website.

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