Written by Toby Burgess and Daen Palma Huse
“Doubt, A Parable” honours its subject with the emotion, complexity and sensitivity we would expect.
Set in 1964, Sister Aloysius (Stella Gonet) is the head of a devout Catholic school, responsible for Sister James (Clare Latham) and responsible to Father Brendan Flynn (Jonathan Chambers). Rocked by an observation of Father Flynn by Sister James, the protagonist, Sister Aloysius calls faith, patriarchy, wisdom and religious order into question.
The characters each pivot on a profound and difficult accusation, one which plays off of their maturity, standing and morality. For such reasons, the characters demand a depth from their actors, and it was pleasant to see Stella Gonet deal with this challenge effectively - for a character so stern, we found her immensely touching. Equally, Clare Latham as Sister James deserves a special mention; her performance was relatable and compelling
Overall we found the play was slightly short of the depth that the text displays. The panicked and tense scenes did not grip us as much as they could have and use of lighting and sound attempted to unsettle the audience, but perhaps missed the mark. The set, whilst practical and aesthetic lent little to the play – we could not help but think this could have been stripped back.
“Doubt, A Parable” is a momentous script; we felt the play fell a few steps short, but we left with great admiration for the script, a respect for all the actors and a continued love of the Southwark Playhouse.