Prism is a moving story about legendary Hollwood filmmaker Jack Cardiff. The double Oscar award-winning has retired to Buckinghamshire and is writing his autobiography, but his memory is fading and he is struggling to come to terms with his new identity.
His many hit movies include Hysteria, La Cage aux Folles, The Red Shoes and many more. Spending his life on many of the most famous film sets in the world, he is a truly iconic man. Terry Johnson has created a superb play that captures his passion and the magnetism of his soul. Cardiff is suffering with Alzheimer’s and it portrays the way his diminishing memory affects himself and those around him.
Cardiff’s son Mason (Oliver Hembrough) has set up his dad’s garage to reflect his incredible achievements. With posters on the wall of his famous movies and his old film equipment framing the room, he urges his dad to remind himself of his past. Mason hires a young woman named Lucy (Victoria Blunt) to become his father’s carer.
The interaction between Victoria Blunt and Robert Lindsay is simply brilliant. They clash yet find so much in common. Blunt plays the troubled northern lass with distinct personality and the way she learns about Jack’s past is captivating. The dialogue between them is quick-witted and creates excellent humour.
What is touching is the relationship between Jack and his wife Nicola played by Tara Fitzgerald. There is real emotion from Fitzgerald who is losing hope as she sees her husband fading away. Struggling to recognise his wife, she holds on to an inch of hope that he will really see her again.
It’s a simple play with interesting context weaved within it. However, it’s the beauty of the language that really captures the audience. The poetic language is beautifully lyrical and there are some truly mesmerising moments in the play. When he compares himself to his old film camera – describing them of both broken but capable of extraordinary things, it is heart-aching.
Olivier award-winning Robert Lindsay gives a first-rate performance as Jack Cardiff. He has a natural charm and he delivers the dialogue with real sincerity.
Prism is a beautifully written and magnificently acted to create a quietly profound piece of theatre about ageing, memory and identity.
On at Birmingham Rep until Saturday 12th of October, tickets and information can be found on their website.
Photo credit // Manuel Harlan