In a small town in Vermont, New England, five unlikely strangers come together in their community centre for a creative drama class for adults. The free-spirited Marty, recently divorced Schulz, former actress Teresa, the self-conscious high school student Lauren, and Marty’s quiet husband, James. Over six weeks of drama exercises and games ranging from the hilarious to the heartbreaking, their lives become entangled and transformed in the most humorous and moving ways.
Award winning director Bijan Sheibani brings the Northern Premiere of Annie Baker’s fantastic show to HOME’s stage, starring Amelia Bullmore (Scott & Bailey, Twenty Twelve, The Crucible) as Marty, Sian Clifford (Fleabag, Gloria) as Theresa, Anthony Ofoegbu (Spooks, Moonfleet, Casualty) as James, Con O’Neill (Frank, Cucumber, Ordinary Lives, Harlots, A View From the Bridge, Happy Valley) as Schultz, and Yasmin Paige (Submarine, Pramface, Ah Wilderness) as Lauren.
Annie Baker is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for drama and is considered one of the most talented playwrights to have emerged in recent years. Her quiet masterpiece Circle Mirror Transformation won the 2010 Obie Award for Best New Play, and was voted one of the top 10 plays of 2009 by the New York Times, Time Out, and The New Yorker.
★★★★ “This revival of [Circle Mirror Transformation] is performed with richly layered compassion… The director Bijan Sheibani tenderly holds [Annie] Baker’s hesitance and hush.” – The Guardian
★★★★ “Bijan Sheibani’s clever, sensitive direction… It’s taken Britain a fair amount of time to discover Annie Baker, but now that we’ve found her, we must never let her go. She is the real thing, a playwright to cherish… It is a lovely play and a deeply rewarding evening.” – What’s On Stage
★★★★ “Bijan Sheibani’s production adds a layer of shimmering theatricality… The play’s close-up focus on character makes it a daunting showcase for performers. Sheibani’s cast brilliantly meet the challenge.” – The Stage
★★★★ “This is a beautifully crafted play that appears to have slipped effortlessly from the pen of the great US playwright Annie Baker… This understated and loving play reminds us, in a world where sniping and ridicule is rife, that most people are in fact decent and kind.” – Morning Star
★★★★½ “It’s hard not to be drawn in by these vulnerable, flawed people… Appealingly subtle. [Bijan] Sheibani’s deft direction of this talented cast ensures that it’s always compelling.” – The Reviews Hub
★★★★ “Sheibani’s sensitive direction presents audiences with a simple yet thought-provoking production… Circle Mirror Transformation washes over you, making you smile, laugh and feel a sense of connected emotion which leaves you feeling hugely satisfied.” – Opening Night
★★★★ “The whole cast put in understated, beautiful performances which suit Annie Baker’s writing perfectly… [A] wonderful, sensitive production.” – Upstaged Manchester
“What keeps [the audience] engaged for the 1 hour 45 minutes (with no interval) is the perfectly pitched portrayal of the characters whom I believed in so completely… The actors were what really made this performance such a joy to watch.” – Manchester Salon
“Annie Baker deftly explores themes of loneliness and new beginnings. The result is clever, funny and devastating… Crafted to perfection. [Director] Bijan Sheibani’s direction is sensitive and under-stated, allowing Baker’s meticulous writing to work its magic, ably supported by a terrific cast.” – Unrestricted Views
“Annie Baker’s writing is incredibly delicate… Circle Mirror Transformation is rich in character and feeling, brilliant performances and sadness. A quiet must-see.” – Mancunion
“Baker’s script pulls you in close… [Bijan] Sheibani’s taut and seductively intimate production handsomely repays our close attention… Circle Mirror Transformation celebrates the human capacity for reinvention – we too, it reminds us, can start again.” – Circles & Stalls
“Circle Mirror Transformation is special because it shines a brilliant and tender light on the fragility of all of us, in our need for connection, acceptance and love.” – Live Art Alive
“Circle Mirror Transformation is a refreshingly original play… Each mini scene delivers some new fact or feature about the characters on stage and the cumulative effect begins to build like random pieces of a jigsaw puzzle… A world-class piece of writing which generates a heady mix of the pleasures of book, screen, stage and jigsaw puzzle all combined.” – The Greater Manchester Reviewer
“In [Bijan] Sheibani’s astute work, in Samal Blak’s mirrored set which both heightens the theatricality and shatters it as neither characters nor audience can hide, the likes of Amelia Bullmore and Con O’Neill conjure minor miracles in their meticulous detail.” – There Ought To Be Clowns
“A fine play… I very much relished the nimble, sprightly performances.” – Jildy Sauce
Just seen Circle Mirror Transformation at @HOME_mcr and it was INCREDIBLE. Amelia Bullmore was absolutely superb!!! Might go watch it again I enjoyed it that much… @_eleanorcrow
Saw Circle Mirror Transformation
@HOME_mcr this weekend and I’m still thinking about the genius of Annie Baker’s writing. So subtle but revealing. Woweee. @Molly_Deegan
And there is more great audience feedback where that came from. Take a look.
After the performance on Thu 15 March, the Circle Mirror Transformation cast will be joined on stage for a post-show Q&A with our Artistic Director of Theatre, Walter Meierjohann.