OVO's new season at the Maltings gets off to a flying start with The Spiral Path

The Spiral Path can be seen at The Maltings Theatre in St Albans.

The Spiral Path can be seen at The Maltings Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Katalyst

Madeleine Burton reviews The Spiral Path at The Maltings Theatre in St Albans.

The Spiral Path can be seen at The Maltings Theatre in St Albans.

The Spiral Path can be seen at The Maltings Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Katalyst

OVO’s Spring programme has got off to a flying start with this week’s production of The Spiral Path by Andrew Sharpe.

The first in a new writers’ season that runs until April at the Maltings Theatre in St Albans, it examines love and loss in the wake of a tragic cycling accident.

With a cast of just five, it looks at how the death of the cyclist impacts on the lives of her husband, best friend, mother-in-law and perhaps, most mystifyingly until the final scene, the man she appears to meet in a coffee shop.

Beautifully written, the dialogue flows easily with some gentle humour to balance the big issues it tackles.

And while it demonstrates anguish, despair and different ways of coping with grief, it never becomes maudlin or overly-sentimental.

The Spiral Path can be seen at The Maltings Theatre in St Albans.

The Spiral Path can be seen at The Maltings Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Katalyst

The Spiral Path also springs some surprises, not least the fact that the closest relationship of all is between two of the women, although it is the widowed Edward whose grief is the most high profile.

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The only concern I have is that it is set over a 50-year period and that was not obvious when working out the chronology of the plot, at least until the final scene.

Without ageing the characters, which would have been asking a lot of both director and cast as well as spoiling the balance of the play, the time frame could perhaps have been made a bit clearer.

Experienced director Kat Rogers brings all her talent to bear on the play on its first full-length run. She uses a sparse set which keeps the focus firmly on the plight of the characters.

Claire Jared’s Georgina is the stand-out performance. She has so much thrown in her path but emerges as the strong woman she is described as by Kirsty, a strong performance from Georgina Bennett.

Jonny D’Spena as Edward captures despair and why the idea of ending it all is so attractive and while mother-in-law Edie is a bit of a stock figure, Jill Priest embodies the type of woman who always has to be right.

Paul Manuel as Harry starts and ends the play in the professional way for which he has come to be known.

The Spiral Path runs until Saturday, February 5, and tickets for the play and others in the new writing season can be obtained from ovo.org.uk