Yerma @ Young Vic Theatre
Cast Includes Billie Piper, Brendan Cowell and Maureen Beattie
Running Time: 1 hour 40 mins, no interval
Yerma had an extremely successful year last year, with both the play and Billie Piper as the lead being both singled out for praise and awards. It has now been revived for a short run with the original cast, with tickets being extremely highly sought after. The play, which has been adapted by Simon Stone from the original text by Lorca, adapts the tale to a modern day setting and focusses on one woman’s descent into madness after her inability to have a child.
Firstly, Stone’s adaptation is top notch. The piece is extremely tight and the pace is good, and whilst being a tragic piece maintains some lighter moments in the first parts, which is good and these moments are well played. The text is also well crafted, as is Piper’s character progression, with her clear descent into madness and self-destruction well plotted.
Billie Piper also puts in a masterclass performance – she is superlative. Her portrayal won her many awards last year, which are well deserved – she is by turns funny and tragic, and you clearly feel the desperation and heartbreak she feels. She puts in a career-defining performance and is not to be missed.
The rest of the cast are also strong. Brendan Cowell (recently seen in Life of Galileo at the same venue) ably meets Piper, and their chemistry is great. Also of note is Maureen Beattie as Piper’s mother, who is exceptionally funny in many parts and has a really interesting dynamic with Piper.
Yerma is also well staged – the piece is done in traverse, but is also contained within glass, almost like a fish tank. This is a really effective technique as it makes the audience almost represent the external pressures upon the couple and how society views woman and their biological clock.
Summary: An exceptional piece of theatre returns for a limited run, with a stunning central performance from Billie Piper. Highly recommended *****