Review: One Minute by Simon Stephens (The Barn, Cirencester)

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A girl goes missing and the ripple effect devastates lives. The central premise of Simon Stephens’ One Minute and the directorial debut of The Barn’s Artistic Director Iwan Lewis offers a character study of how people react under trauma and deal with the world around them.

Anyone familiar with Stephens’ ability to get to the heart of a community and deal with heartbreak and the human condition will relish his masterful use of the language in One Minute. Each deeply flawed character has an intricately designed pathway through the tragedy of losing young Daisy and the crossing of streams is when the dialogue really comes to life.

Lewis’ direction is assured and he is truly at home creating an increasingly wide ripple effect in the intimate surroundings of The Barn Theatre, which after The Secret Garden and now One Minute must surely be on the map as one of the most exciting venues in the South West.

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Each cast member confidently puts their own stamp on the character they are playing, all within the tight parameters of Lewis’ direction. The design, by PJ McEvoy, is slick and maximises the space to allow for bigger, expansive moments as well as the more claustrophobic, quieter and intimate moments of the play. By nature episodic, Lewis’ revival of One Minute could benefit with slicker transitions or more overlaps rather than even scene changes as at times, events fell into place a little too neatly but this is a minor quibble.

The creative team, both at The Barn and with One Minute have transformed this sleepy little corner of the Cotswolds and have created a dynamic, personal and captivating insight into loss, grief and the human condition.

One Minute continues at The Barn Theatre, Cirencester until 16th June. Full details can be found here.

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