A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

The Southbury Child

The Southbury Child
26 July 2022
Bridge Theatre
4.5 out of 5.0 stars

The Southbury Child at the Bridge Theatre is one of those plays that manages to walk the line between comedy and drama. Set in a small seaside parish somewhere in the West Country, the play revolves around vicar David Highland, who has spent much of his life serving his parish. His congregation having dwindled over the decades, and his family being in turmoil over his drinking and various affairs, he is struggling to keep his life together. The funeral arrangements for a young child spark up unexpected controversy when the family asks to bring Disney-themed helium balloons into the church, but the vicar staunchly denies this request, refusing to let his church be dressed up so frivolously. David picks this as his hill to die on, while the public starts to rally against him and this seemingly random decision.

Throughout the play it becomes more clear why he is so steadfastly against a little colour at a child’s funeral, making it clear that his position is a well thought out one based on his core principles and understanding of the church’s role in people’s lives and his place within it. His arguments alone are a brilliant conversation starter around core beliefs and principles and how we see our role within our interpersonal relationships. But this defending of a seemingly antiquated idea costs him more than just public mockery, unravelling his entire life.

The entire play takes place in the large kitchen of the vicarage, with a large church looming over the stage in the background, evoking a powerful image of its strong influence on the story unfolding below it. The comedic moments in this play are interspersed with human tragedy, bringing an interesting balance to the stage. With fleshed out characters, plenty of unrest, and pivotal decisions that deeply affect people’s lives, it’s a fantastic play that encourages debate and deep thinking about our personal fundamental principles we build our decisions on.

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