Writer: Francesca White
Director: Liz Postlethwaite
Reviewer: Tracey Lowe
The Public Reviews Rating:
Carly and her father, Neil, move to Northumberland from Manchester, in an attempt to distance themselves from the memory of Carly’s mother, who has recently passed away. Carly misses her life and friends in Manchester, but finds a confidant in her second cousin, Lou, who has never left Northumberland. Carly and Neil’s relationship is in ruins, as Neil tries to cope as a newly-single father trying to raise a troubled daughter.
The script is wonderful, but some of the most effective scenes are between Carly and Neil, where nothing is said, but the tension between them is absolutely deafening. The pair don’t actual share any dialogue until about half way through the play, but their relationship is central. Steven Hillman is perfect as the frustrated Neil; he is a wonderful and sometimes terrifying actor. Emma Clarke most than holds her own in her scenes with him, it’s hard to believe this is her first professional performance. Carly is definitely your stereotypical stroppy teen, but the way that Emma Clarke plays her allows the audience to see her vulnerable side.
Richie Gibson does a great job as Lou, the lonely and intimidated Northumbrian local. It is never made clear why Neil does not want Carly to spend time with Lou, as he seems quite harmless and very likable.
While the set changes are complemented by some appropriate, gentle songs (I Am Kloot, Emmy the Great), they slowed the pace of the action down a little, and sometimes took too long. However, the strength the acting meant the audience were enthralled again in no time at all.
Stars are Fire is an example of a simple, relatable story being told in a very engaging way. It just goes to show you don’t need big shocking reveals or outlandish premises to entertain an audience.