The House We Inherit

Sarah Majland
Quid Pro Quo Theatre
Bridge House Theatre

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The House We Inherit

In The House We Inherit, the house is not so much the fabric of the building that Helena, Timmy and Kevin have been left by their parents as the echoes that continue to reverberate within its walls.

Helena has returned to her small-town home from New York to visit her brother, Timmy, who is dying of congenital heart disease, and their adopted brother, Kevin, Timmy’s carer. Their parents died prematurely a few years earlier, and the twenty-somethings now find themselves alone facing the pressure of Timmy’s imminent passing.

As in most families, there are undisclosed yearnings and secrets here, long-hidden and damaging to those who carry the weight of keeping them. There are also unanswered questions and resentments.

Sarah Majland‘s play takes an interesting look at how close siblings will protect and stand up for one another even at cost to themselves, and at arguably too young an age make decisions about what is best.

Well-structured and intensely moving in parts, the balance shifts around who has the right to know what and who gets to tell whose secrets.

I don’t know why Danish-born, British-trained Majland has chosen to set her play in America; it doesn’t seem necessary for the universal themes her play addresses and burdens the cast with having to adopt accents. Also, the text does not convince me of the location. Kevin brings home ‘fish and chips’ for dinner, and there is no talk of the cost of the ambulance (which in America typically doesn’t operate as a free public service) or the fees for Timmy’s medical care or health insurance, which Kevin could not afford on his part-time job.

A director—this piece is directed collectively by the company—may have spotted these blemishes on an otherwise strong piece of writing, and may also have tweaked the blocking, which could benefit from some finessing.

None of this, though, should stop you from hopping onto the Overground and getting to Bridge House Theatre to see The House We Inherit. Majland warms up to give an astounding performance as Helena, a broken but nonetheless strong young woman. I saw the play in preview and can only wonder at how her performance may grow and find new depths as the run progresses.

Reviewer: Sandra Giorgetti

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