Caught is a piece of new writing about a detective inspector who has transferred to a smaller town to solve a murder. The story involves five suspects, played by only three women. The story is interesting in terms of the setting: a murder in the small town of Canterbury, where everyone knows everyone. The idea of this is to make the murder seem more “at home” to the suspects, and to prove that the murders that we hear about in the media aren’t just storylines, but affect real people.
The Pleasance Theatre in Islington is the perfect destination for this piece. The place promotes a ‘slice of Edinburgh’, which is exactly what you get. The inside exudes a rustic feel; extremely homely and comfortable, yet edgy. It reflects the feel of Edinburgh perfectly.
In the programme, it states that ‘Leah Lawry-Johns wrote Caught after feeling that there were not enough strong roles for women in theatre’. Although it is a somewhat provocative statement, Lawry-Johns certainly proves her worth by creating an imaginatively woven story with six entirely hearty but different characters, whose stories cleverly merge to form a spiderweb, with each story thread crossing, some contradicting one another, but all leading to the main solution of the story which completely takes the audience by surprise.
There was a clever twist in the plot at the very end of the story, and there was possibly a point when I suspected the true murderer but it really did seem to take the audience by surprise. In hindsight, you can see that the true murderer’s ‘accidental’ movements (showing a bruise by touching her hair and revealing her elbow to the audience) could have been entirely deliberate, and quite conniving, adding more depth to the story and the character. This direction, by Eduard Lewis, was extremely clever in the way that this was disguised throughout the piece.
As for the actual girls involved, they raised a high bar from the start of the piece and it’s safe to say that this never dropped. Serena Chloe Gardner and Ella Duncan star along with Lawry-Johns to create a trio of triumph, demonstrating great diversity in their multi-rolling. It was an absolute pleasure to see three young women playing such juicy roles, as well as demonstrating women from different backgrounds and uniting the importance of these incidents and how it affects them all, no matter what their differences may be. All in all, these girls all did an absolutely fantastic job.
It’s a shame to hear that the production is having such a limited run, because the talent involved in the entirety of this piece is awe inspiring. I really hope to see more works from Lawry-Johns to see what else she has up her sleeve in terms of clever story lines with prominent, established, and powerful women, as it is clear to see the immense bags of talent she has both as a writer and an actress.
Caught is playing at the Pleasance Theatre until 5 September. For more information and tickets, see the Pleasance Theatre website. Image by Pleasance Theatre.