The human touch is a powerful thing. It soothes, frightens, energises and stimulates. It can burn and can turn skin to ice.
Suzie Miller’s new play presented by Griffin Theatre Company Caress/Ache explores the human experience behind the science of touch.
We meet 10 characters portrayed by 5 actors (Ian Stenlake, Helen Christinson, Sabryna Te’o, Gary Clementson and Zoe Carides) who each swim through the struggle to connect – be that within a marriage, culture or profession.
Amidst a stark, cold and austere set (clever design by Sophie Fletcher) made of white and stainless steel walls, tables and a bath (that works!), we see emotional, warm, fiery people fighting against all that is clinical and heartless. A beautiful, literal juxtaposition.
And the battle is real but the non-linear, choppy structure with little to no context for each journey makes it hard to keep pace with the combustive characters and as a result connect with their struggle.
There are moments of beautiful storytelling (direction by Anthony Skuse), particularly by Zoe Carides’ Alice, and Suzie Miller has chosen a humanising and handsome subject to explore.
Caress/Ache makes for a touching and thought-inspiring night of theatre that asks us to consider the delicate ways we physically connect with one another.
Images: Helen Christinson and Gary Clementson & Ian Stenlake and Zoe Carides. Photographer: Brett Boardman.