Turn Me to Stone

A heartwarming display of the enduring playfulness and innocence of children in the face of tragedy

★★★
archive review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 19 Aug 2007
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Turn Me to Stone is a show of two unfortunately conflicting halves, one a brilliantly scripted view of childhood and another a more laboured portrayal of far-right politics. Set in the aftermath of a deadly storm in England Turn Me to Stone follows life in a relief shelter for two twins and their older brother in their attempt to find their missing parents.

In the stress and upheaval of natural disaster, close to home given the recent flooding across the country, the intention is to show how easy it is to fall prey to radical political views. It is, however, unconvincing.

It is instead the young twins Charlotte (Katy Bartholomew) and Morgan (Nick Kay) who captivate the audience. Aided by a superb script, they give a heartwarming display of the enduring playfulness and innocence of children in the face of tragedy. They cavort throughout the performance, playing games on stage before the show has even started and capturing the sentiments of a temper tantrum with nostalgic realism.

The twins’ older brother Liam (Richard Dennis) is more frustrated and, in a series of conversations, soon becomes seduced by the politics of David who runs the relief centre with his wife Marianne. David sees great “potential” in Liam that is never made clear to the audience: Liam is just an average discontented teenager.

David, instead of being portrayed as a convincing and threatening figure, as I’m sure is the intention, is a bumbling fool, a two-dimensional character of ridicule. It is difficult to see how anyone could fall under the sway of the extreme views of a man for whom it might be radical to even walk into a council estate. David may be a parody of a Telegraph reader, but Nazi he is not.

You cannot help but feel that Turn Me to Stone is meant to emphasise the chilling threat of far-right politics, but it is the lives of the young twins that capture the imagination. Writer Tom Clatter has to work on the introduction of the political content but he has produced one of the most convincing portrayals of youth I have seen in a long time.