"Doubt challenges the religious mindset"
by Sascha Cooper for remotegoat on 13/02/19

'Doubt' showcases the mindset most of us experience at one time or another. When we are so convinced we believe something occurred that was wrong, but no proof is there. This production challenges the possibility of what the consequences would be if all the circumstances were so blurred that no one knows any more what the truth is, by setting it in a school run by the local parish at the time of John F Kennedy passing.

Apart from the fact that this was a very challenging piece in terms of religion and what potentially could have happened between a child and a priest, the way the story and the character dynamics developed was extremely well handled and researched. All four characters had their own mindsets of how they wanted to see things, which added the exactly right amount of drama and comedy to the proceedings.

Paddy Cooper played the modern priest Father Flynn with an interesting mix of power and intrigue. Although on occasion in the more intimate moments, it was hard to hear some of what he said, it did not take away the fact that there was more to this character than meets the eye. He really did plant the seed of doubt in the audience as well as the other characters, plus had a lovely dynamic with Deborah Kearney (Sister Aloysius Beauvier) when she cornered him. Her rather harsh outlook on how certain things should be done added to the fact that life and religion kept changing and she was not happy with that change. If anything, she had the most intense journey out of the whole cast. You need to watch this show to find out why, but she and Paddy had a good element of conflict and equal respect for one another, which is hard to achieve.

Sister James was played with sensitivity and decorum by Eleanor Stourton. Again this is a character who has her own sense of doubt as she gets drawn into the situation aforementioned, whilst handling her own issues outside the school. She enabled us the audience to be drawn into her world of trying to be a good nun and teacher and it was clear that she loved all she did. Eleanor as an actress knew how to get the right balance of innocence and insight into her role and was pleasant to watch.

But it was Sabina Arthur's Mrs Muller who added the final layer of doubt into the tale. She shared in one scene the reality of what was happening at home and also the reality of having a son who was different, not just because of the colour of their skin. This role was played with fear and resignation of the situation extremely well and the fact that at the time, coloured skin enabled different treatment. This can be difficult to achieve as an actress, but Sabina gave us a different outlook and drew us into her world with such ease that we were left wanting more.

This piece is not for everyone, however 'Doubt' needs to be experienced to be believed. It was thought provoking and challenging. A very well constructed and handled piece.

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