Seeds - Leeds Playhouse Review

seeds:  Penny Layden and Judith Jacob
seeds: Penny Layden and Judith Jacob

It's the 15th anniversary of the fatal stabbing of teenager Michael Thomas, and his mother Evelyn has been practising the speech she will deliver to mark the occasion, which is also his birthday. A knock on the door reveals Jackie, who we soon learn is the mother of Daniel, the boy accused of the crime but never convicted. Evelyn, however, is sure of his guilt.

The two women, united in sorrow are played magnificently by Judith Jacob (Evelyn) and Penny Layden (Jackie). The 90-minute production runs through without a break and the two are present on the stage of the tiny Bramall Rock Void theatre space throughout

Seeds, which has its world premiere at Leeds Playhouse, tells the human story behind a tragedy that is all too common. It's powerful stuff - so powerful in fact that the audience is handed a printed sheet as they enter, warning them of some of the difficult subjects to be covered and inviting anyone who is distressed to leave or stay behind to compose themselves at the end of the show.

The tension racks up and the dialogue becomes more heated. There are blatant racist slurs, jokes and rhetoric which don't make for comfortable listening, but it is never gratuitous and is relevant and necessary to the story.

As the confrontation between the two women escalates, emotions run high and, as we find out the truth about what happened, we learn just what a mother is prepared to do for her son - no matter what the cost.

The final denouement is unexpected and catches the audience by surprise, leaving many more questions unanswered.

Until February 29 then touring.

Tickets: £14

leedsplayhouse.org.uk