Stepping Out in
Association with Chrysalis Theatre presents
Cast: Olivia Dennis,
Zach Lee, Violet Ryder,
love my family. I love them more than what you might call normal
Billy is dead, definitely dead.
To make sure of it, both his daughters shot him. As the gun smoke clears, his family can
breathe again - but decades of fear do not melt away so easily.
A new life beckons. A better life. A life without black eyes and broken ribs. A life
without a father for a lover. Yet every time they close their eyes, they see him:
vengeful and malignant.
Billy is dead. But not gone.
Five Kinds of Silence
is an unflinchingly honest and deeply insightful portrait of a family broken by madness
and systematic abuse.
Winner; UK Writers
Guild - Best Original Play
Winner; Sony Award
Best Original Drama
Whats on Stage
a very potent analysis of a family driven to murder by years of abuse at the hands
of a sadistic bully of a husband and father, Billy, played with terrifying ferocity by
its an unrelentingly grim experience, but one which retains a sense of hope in
the human spirit. Director Chris Loveless gets the balance just right.
there are some fine moments, such as when one daughter describes how she wants
to make everything better for her father
this is beautifully done by
Olivia Dennis, and the performances by Tessa Wood as the mother and Violet Ryder as the
other daughter are equally strong.
Time Out review
It requires particular courage of an actor to play the kind of unreconstructed psychopath
we meet in Billy and in this competent production directed by Chris Loveless for
Stepping Out Theatre (a group specialising in work on mental health themes), Zach Lee more
than rises to the challenge. His performance is pure lean, musclebound menace, shot
through with an equally disturbing seam of vulnerability
Theres some good work
from the rest of the cast, too particularly Violet Ryder as the elder daughter,
Janet and the writing contains some beautiful lyrical passages
Stephensons play is a brave exposť of abuse which, as its title implies, too often
remains hidden behind veils of silence.
Plays International review
This is a play that could be too harrowing to watch easily, but director Chris Loveless
and a stunning cast have created a totally gripping piece of theatre which, while deeply
moving, allows us to engage with compassion and even with hope. The relationship between
the two daughters, superbly played with sensitive restraint by Violet Ryder and Olivia
Dennis, is tender and truthful, and Zach Lee as Billy can change from beautiful to
monstrous in a moment and is always charismatic. This extraordinary production runs to
February 17th - it had pin-drop attention and passionate applause from the full-house
first-night audience so if you're anywhere near London, book while you can.
The Public Reviews review
As Billy, the father, Zach Lee is stunning, making it perfectly credible
that the three women could loathe and love him at the same time; his character is both a
perpetrator and a victim of violence, suffering from alcoholism and epilepsy, yet, however
monstrously he behaves, the actor is still able to eke out a degree of sympathy for him.
As Mary, the mother, Tessa Wood gives a moving performance, her character was a neglected
child who seemed cast by nature into the role of victim; yet she is aware of her own
inability to stop the abuse and, understanding that it crosses generations, she is
determined that she does not want grandchildren. Violet Ryder plays Janet, the older
daughter as clear-thinking and resolute in determining the only way to end the horror, but
equally vulnerable and prone to emotional outbursts. Olivia Dennis plays her younger
sister Susan as more confused by her own emotions and racked by personal guilt. Anthony
Hoskyns as the womens interrogator completes the quintet of fine actors.
The performances throughout are outstanding. Anthony Hoskyns provides solid support as the
straight-man ensemble (Policeman / Lawyer / Psychiatrist), and provides the leading
players enough room to shine. Violet Ryder plays Janet with schizophrenic energy, in turns
hysterical and uncertain, beautiful and broken, unsure of herself and her place in this
strange world in which she finds herself. Tessa Wood alone as Mary injects some lightness
of touch into proceedings; the scenes where his timorous wife happily tells us that Billy
would have been pleased that his shirt looks so neat as he lies on the ground filled with
bullets, and proudly lists the groceries in the kitchen, are greatly needed to lift the
air of unending doom. She movingly hints at a happier past, filled with innocence,
dancing, and glasses of port & lemon, yet now is a mere husk of a woman, bereft of her
dreams and unable to recognise the destructive power of her love for Billy. Olivia Dennis
is outstanding as Susan; bolshy, ashamed and gloriously twitchy, constantly gathering her
cardigan around her like an aegis and stubbornly batting away any attempts at emotional
extraction attempted by her inquisitors, including herself. Also outstanding is Zach Lee
as Billy; his is a dervish of a performance. At points he is squirming and crawling around
the floor like Gollum, literally spitting out his recollections and daydreams with
visceral intensity, and at others he lurks in the shadows of the stage, steering the
thoughts and deeds of the women during their inquisition even after death like an aphotic,
undead sentinel, making what use he can from the scant staging. White Bear has a little
gem on its hands here, and deserves to see many more full houses on its way through
Verdict: 4.5 /5
Stepping Out Theatre - Producer
Founded in 1997, and with 39 productions to its
credit, Stepping Out Theatre is the countrys leading mental health theatre group. It
has produced a wide range of work on mental health themes and is open to people who have
used mental health services and their allies. It offers mental health service users the
opportunity to work alongside people with professional experience of writing, directing
and acting, some of whom are service users themselves. The group has won two national
awards in recognition of its high quality and groundbreaking work in mental health.
Chris Loveless - Director
Chris trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
He has worked at/for: Ambassador Theatre Group, BBC TV, Bristol Old Vic, C venues Chambers
Street, The Dukes, European Ballet, The Finborough, Hackney Empire,
The Lowry, Lyric Hammersmith, National Youth Theatre, Novello Theatre Ascot, Okai Collier
Company, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, Theatre Royal Bath & Ustinov, Theatre
West, Tobacco Factory & The Brewery, and the Union Theatre, amongst many others. Chris
is Artistic Director of Fallen Angel Theatre Company and an associate director of the
White Bear Theatre and Stepping Out Theatre Company. His productions have received
widespread critical acclaim and several have been named critics choice by the
Evening Standard or Time Out. He has twice been awarded Arts Council Grants for the Arts
individual funding for his work, and in 2010 was nominated for the Off West End Theatre
Award for Best Director. Chris is the incoming Resident Director of The Ashton Group in South
Laura Clark - Designer
Laura Clark trained in Professional Theatre Design at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre
School, graduating in 2010. Set and costume designs for theatre include The Country
Wife (Bristol Old Vic), Born/The World Outside (Forest Forge Theatre), The
Most Gorgeous Lady Blessington (Tangent Theatre, Wallace Collection London), Twelfth
Night, My Cousin Charles & Much Ado (adaptations, White Horse Theatre, Germany).
Set and costume design for film includes Henry VIII Book promo video http://vimeo.com/25355300, Templar Publishing, and Two
Extremes, Dir. Sarah Punshon, Bristol. See more of Laura's work at www.lauradesigns.co.uk
Paul Micah - Lighting Designer and Stage Manager
Paul Micah is a freelance lighting and Sound designer as well as a
technician based in London. He has been working in theatre for many years as a freelance
technician and stage manager, and has found a passion for lighting and sound design. As a
technician he has been based at the Paul Robeson theatre and the Broadway theatre,
designing lights and sound for a variety of incoming companies that are hiring the space.
The latest being for Bounce Theatre Company. Most recent shows for lighting design include
Freedom at the Arcola Theatre, followed by a UK Tour: Two Brothers and One
World Cup, Bugsy at Alra studios, The Crossing at the Mosaic festival,
London, Uravugal dance festival at the Watersmeet Theatre and Glee at
The Tramshed Theatre.
As a sound designer, he has designed many theatre shows, films and live events, including
fashion shows and carnivals. He has created backing tracks for childrens shows and
dance schools working alongside directors and choreographers, and has collaborated with
musicians playing live to enhance the overall sound of the show - he even played saxophone
in Two Brothers and One World Cup. In addition to working in theatre, Paul has
lit concerts, exhibitions and dance performances. He is currently in pre-production for an
adaption of Canterbury Tales which will tour round Spain in late spring.
Olivia Dennis - Susan
For Stepping Out: Leonie in Mascara, Lizzie in Flaming Crackers, Mel in Flaming Voices, Third Wheeler in Madhampton.co.uk and He Liked to Look in The Vagina Monologues. Other theatre credits
include Camilla in Three Women and Kelly in Jellied Eels with Theatre West, Faith in Asylum Monologues with Ice and Fire Theatre Co,
Mary in Madhouse and Tuppy in Messabout with Bristol Experimental Theatre Co, Sir
Toby Belch in Twelfth Night with Hecate Theatre
Co, Sally May in Sally May with The Motley
Theatre Co, Edith in Blithe Spirit with Broken
Clock Productions, Margarita in Cant Pay Wont
Pay with RoughHouse Theatre, Rose in Cloudstreet
with Riding Lights Theatre Co and Celia in As
You Like It with York Shakespeare Co. Film includes Marie in Smokescreen with Head in the Clouds Productions and
Reyes in Bloodlust with Gwenhwyfar Productions.
TV credits include Yenna in The Barbarians on
Anthony Hoskyns -
Trained at Guildhall School
of Music and Drama. Theatre includes: Romeo
and Juliet (BAC) dir. Polly Findlay, She
Stoops to Conquer (Nuffield Theatre) dir. Patrick Sandford, Lonestar and As You Like It (O.S.O.)
dir. Ross Livingstone, Blavatsky's Tower
(Brockley Jack) dir. Chris Loveless, The Age of
Consent (The Drill Hall) dir. Kevin Trainor. Television and Radio includes: Trinity (ITV2) dir. Colin Teague, Eastenders (BBC 1) dir. Nick Philips, A Dance to the Music of Time (BBC Radio 4).
Zach Lee - Billy
Theatre: For Hull Truck: Bouncers (7 productions), A Weekend In England, Trucktacular Tales, The Playwrite Festival, Up n Under, Glass Menagerie, Dr Faustus, Ballroom Blitz, Frankenstein, Wuthering
Heights, Little Malcolm and His Struggle
Against the Eunuchs and A Christmas Carol,
at venues including the West End, the National Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on
tour in most theatres across the UK. Zach was an original cast member in John
Godbers plays Unleashed (4 productions)
and Reunion, for which he received a nomination
for Best Actor at the 2003 Manchester Evening News Awards.
Other credits: Nick Lanes The Derby McQueen Affair (York Theatre Royal), The Great Bitter Lake (Oldham Coliseum), The Tooth Of Crime, Cinderella, Fair
Play, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Remote Control, Rules of Ownership, Ivan-a Miscarriage of Justice, One More Head on the Block and three versions of
Mainbrace Theatres 1998 TAPS/BAFTA Best new Play Award Winner: The Life and Times of Young Bob Scallion.
Television: Young Dracula 3 (CBBC), Crime Traveller, Class Act (ITV), The Elbow Room (BBC), The Contract, Sickness
& Health, Feelgood Factor, Teddy (CH4) and both series of Lynda La Plante's The Governor (ITV).
Film: Caleb Lindseys first two full length
Features: Chasing Dreams and Hard Edge.
For Zachs own outfit, Stripes Theatre
Company, credits include: Two Brothers and One World
Cup (Edinburgh Fringe Festival & tour), Geoffrey
Ramsbottom Man of the 90s (Tabard Theatre), and Christine in Love (Canal Cafe Theatre).
2012 work includes a promo for upcoming feature
film Ms Guided Angel, Round the Twist (Eastern Angles), Treasure Island (Harrogate Theatre), Little Red Riding Hood (Carousel Theatre),
various voiceovers on Young Dracula 4 and a play
reading of Sherica (24/7 Festival/Shred
Productions) directed by Trevor MacFarlane.
Ryder - Janet
Violet trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. She
has toured with Kneehigh Theatres Brief
Encounter (2009) and performed as Jane Bennett in Bath Theatre Royals Pride and Prejudice (2010). Earlier this year,
Violet played Juliet in physical theatre company Action To The
Words modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet.
Violet was nominated Best Female Performer at The Offies 2011 and won Best
Supporting Performance for the DarkChat Edinburgh Festival Awards 2011 for her portrayal
of Olive Young in the theatrical debut of Lullabies
of Broadmoor - a Broadmoor Quartet.
Wood - Mary
was born and grew up in East Yorkshire before training at the Guildhall School
of Music & Drama. After spells in repertory theatre, Tessa went into the first West
End production of The Rocky Horror Show, Annie, Copper Kingdom, Theyre
Playing Our Song, and Number One Tours of Once a
Catholic and A Bedfull of Foreigners with
the legendary Mandy Rice-Davies. More recent credits include The Magic Hour at The Soho Theatre, Memories of Loss and Orpheus & Eurydice - both at The Riverside,
Hammersmith. Film roles include Boy Georges mother in Somebody to Love Me with Diane Kruger and the
comic-book heroine Freeze Girl in the award-winning Swoosh!
Tessa has just finished an enjoyable run of The
Supper Party at The Tabard, Chiswick, and is delighted to be returning to The White
Bear where she played The Grand Duchess, Elizabeth Fyodorovna in The Just by Camus a few years ago. She is married
and lives in West London.
Night: Thursday 31st January, 7:30pm
The White Bear Theatre, 138 Kennington Park Road,
London SE11 4DJ
Box Office: 020 7793 9193 or book online via
Tuesday 29th January - Sunday 17th
Tuesday to Saturday evenings
at 7:30pm. Sundays at 6pm.
Tickets £13 and £10.
Performance running time: approx. 90 mins.
Not suitable for children.