The Fading Hum
The Sirens Production Company
24:7 Theatre Festival, New Century House, Manchester
The Fading Hum is set against the backdrop of the popular media story about the disappearance of the bees and the dire consequences to civilisation if they are allowed to die out, but here it is mainly used as a method of bringing characters together and getting them to open up.
Ted and Robin are brothers who grew up on a farm, but while Ted stayed to run the farm that they jointly inherited when their parents died, Robin escaped to the City to make a fortune as a hedge fund manager. The play begins as Robin returns to the farm for the first time since their father was killed when a grain silo collapsed three years earlier, and although Ted receives him politely, resentments are still evident. Ted's beloved bees seem to be disappearing, so he calls in bee expert Melissa to advise him.
Melissa, curiously, crashed her car on a straight road on her way to the remote farm, and so she is invited to stay the night. In a drink-fuelled evening in which the brothers compete for the attention of the pretty young visitor and the hangover that follows, there are embarrassments, revelations and the raking up of old hostilities between the brothers, until Melissa tops them both with a revelation of her own.
Although it is another play where past deeds are suddenly revealed, it is beautifully written so that everything evolves naturally and believably and you are never left wondering why this all suddenly comes out now when it happened so long ago. The pace flags just a little towards the end, but generally the direction of Laura Keefe together with the performances of Jack Monaghan as Robin, Jay Taylor as Ted and Antonia Kinlay as Melissa are perfectly in tune with a skilfully-written script to produce a compelling piece of theatre.
Until 1st August
Reviewer: David Chadderton