Transports – Jon Welch


Following the mesmerising production of Streaming at The Ustinov last year, Pipeline Theatre returns with Transports. Once again their distinctive style and exquisite design sets them at the top of the small scale touring theatre ladder.
There are few companies who have such compelling stories to tell or do so in such a beautifully nuanced and unique way.
In 1973, a volatile fifteen year old, Dinah, is shunted into her final foster home. Her widowed foster mother is an eccentric chatterbox, a hint of a foreign accent betraying her otherwise hidden Kindertransport past, the memories of which she keeps physically and metaphorically locked away. As youth plays cat and mouse with age, their two stories collide with devastating consequences.
The story is carried with great conviction and raw honesty by Juliet Welch (Lotte, Mrs. Weston & Lotte’s mother) and Hannah Stephens (Dinah & Young Lotte.) The multi role playing is directed with great precision (Jon Welch) where the switches between Dinah and Young Lotte are particularly effective. Here the generations are breached with ease, charging the space with great emotion whilst holding a mirror to their experiences reflecting on their differences as well as their similarities.
The script is well crafted too; the use of poetry allows Dinah to find her teenage voice, to fight her complex world and to express the entrenched emotional damage in her soul.
Juliet Welch captures the endless chatter of the older Lotte and her desperate wish to support Dinah in a sensitive way. The desire to “make things better” is heart breaking whilst her continued strength and determination is constantly inspiring.
This will be a success for Pipeline not only for the breathtaking scene at the end of the play which reinforces the poignancy and relevance of the current refugee crisis alongside the extraordinary experience, resilience and inspiration of Liesl Munden. The impact of this moment is palpable but quite simply this is excellent theatre, thought provoking and challenging throughout and should not be missed.

**** (4 Stars)

Petra Schofield