Review: Hidden in the Sand, Trafalgar Studios ✭✭✭✭

Everybody relishes a good love story and this one is told against the backdrop of invasion, destruction and broken dreams. Alexandra, a refugee from the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 has met Jonathan, an English scholar and they embark on getting to know one another.

There is something beautiful about a love story between two people of a slightly older generation. A ‘second life’ as it is beautifully written in the play. From the very first moment, there is a real connection between the actors, the awkward flame that keeps nearly being knocked over but is suddenly rekindled and burns brightly with a flicker of their eyes towards each other.

Sally Dexter (Alexandra) is completely and entirely endearing. Her quirky twitches and expansive Grecian body language make you instantly fall in love with this confident yet insecure woman. Every moment of every story she shares onstage is a joy and every flick of the hair or pull of the shirt is totally engrossing. An incredibly captivating performance. Scott Handy (Jonathan) is a delight. His strange, far-off stare intriguing and his undying love, captured beneath the skin of a gawky, knowledgable Englishman is almost bewitching. There are some truly heart-breaking moments between them and the piece manages to expertly depict the truth and difficulties of letting your guard down and introducing somebody new into your life.

Yolanda Vazques (Eleni) is both hilarious and moving with the most wonderfully expressive features. A scene between the two sisters is a particular highlight. The part of the niece and war photographer (Sophia) played by Daphne Alexander felt off kilter next to these strong performances and unfortunately this blighted some of the depth of the piece and diminished the strength of the images shown and described to us.

The design was simplistic and effective, the white surroundings shifting easily from lonely flat to sterile waiting room. The lighting could have been used to greater effect particularly in the Greek scenes to bring out the warmth that the actors so fondly spoke of feeling onstage.

Overall, a beautiful master class, brilliantly directed and written by James Phillips displaying the realistic difficulties that come with life and love once the young cast of a rom-com have grown up, lived through loss and confusion, and can not simply fix it with a dating site and a bottle of red.

**** (4 stars)
Runs until 26th October 2013
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