It Started With a Touch by Roger Goldsmith at Rosie's Vineyard
'Would you report your son to the police when you witness him beating up an innocent man?'. This is the question posed to us in Roger Goldsmith's powerful piece 'It Started With A Touch'. Jane Athron's simple design of black and white within the set and costume provided a gritty and harsh sense of contrast to the atmosphere.
The show itself had one or two occasional faults, the space was perhaps a tad too small to accommodate the energy of the performances, and there were some unnecessary character exits followed by an immediate re-entrance. This doesn't however in any way taint what is ultimately a beautifully constructed piece with some intensely raw performances.
The show centres around Caroline, a wife and mother who has to make the tough decision to turn in her son to the police when she witnesses him violently attacking another man. Since Caroline is the centre of the story, we experience her world and the people around her through her eyes.
As her lesbian lover Fay, Katie Watson delivers a multi faceted performance both caring and appropriately paranoid, who is briefly visited by friend Leslie, played by Faye Williams who seemed wonderfully dry and uninterested with an underlying sense of cattiness.
The victim of the assault, Henry, was handled delicately by Matt Johnston, who showed an endearing tenderness throughout. Leigh Cunningham as council estate daughter-in-law Alison was everything the role needed: mouthy, loud and unrelentingly harsh.
The real drama however comes from Caroline's immediate family. Chris Mills as son Steven played 'bad boy' effectively, showing little to no concern for his mother or her wishes, while Patric Howe as mentally and verbally abusive husband Michael gave a performance so realistic that at times it was uncomfortable to watch.
Goldsmith's writing itself is nothing short of remarkable. The characters are so easily well played because the writing behind them is so reflective of every day conversation.
Top praise must of course go to Angie Lily as Caroline. Her emotional range was awe inspiring, and the ability to jump so convincingly from one state of mind to another was a lesson in acting itself. Throughout there always seemed to be this sense that Caroline was right on the edge of tipping over into an emotional breakdown, which provided the show with a heightened level of suspense, and a feeling of holding ones breath. Truly remarkable.