American playwright Gregory Beam's new play Keepsake made its debut at the Old Red Lion Theatre this week and certainly packs a lot of story into its two hours (with interval) running time.
Samara has returned home on the eve of her adopted father's funeral after a two years absence. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since she left but that doesn't stop the flotsam of her childhood growing up with her adopted sister Abra bobbing to the surface.
Beam classically challenges your initial perceptions of the sisters through a slow release of revelations about their past and what has happened during their two years apart. So many revelations in fact it almost feels like he has left no stone unturned. Racism, mental illness, rape, alcoholism, suicide, infidelity, jealousy - it all features, and more, in some shape or form.
Beam succeeds in generating enough intrigue to carry the play and when it is working best the script is crisp, well-observed and the story gripping. However, it does at times veer a little towards the contrived and clunky. There are some genuinely shocking revelations but in trying to cover so much ground the impact starts to diminish.
Points awarded for not seeing a lot of it coming but points deducted for just taking it a little bit too far. Worth a punt Keepsake is a nicely staged kitchen-set drama and runs until 25th January.
Lou Broadbent who plays Samara was in Land Girls with Danny Webb who was in 13, Mike Bartlett's play at the National Theatre and Mr W has also worked with Bartlett, appearing in his play Cock.