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Book Review / Our Private Life


I was lucky enough to see this play twice at The Royal Court Theatre (Jerwood upstairs) in London (with Colin ‘Merlin’ Morgan as Carlos), before I read the play itself, so my views are based on both experiences. I have read the play again very recently, which had cemented it as a firm favourite.


Rozo's play was translated from Spanish as he developed it here for the Royal Court’s international playwrights season. It is a brilliant piece of work, not only to watch but to read. The play follows an utterly dysfunctional Colombian family whose village has just been graced with a brand new shopping centre. The eldest son is in a loving marriage with a baby on the way. He’s the pride and joy of the family, big earner, well-repsected. The youngest son, who is gay, vegetarian and having therapy, has started to recall memories of abuse from his father. The father is also being accused of abusing a boy in the village, and that boy’s mother is now blackmailing the father. The mother is preoccupied with social expectations, and remains wilfully ignorant of the rumours, issues and breakdown of her family. All while living in a small village where gossip is lethal, whether it's true or not.


Thoughts are spoken out loud as dialogue for all to hear and be recipient of, even the audience, breaching the fourth wall, and creating that sense of no escape from gossip and everyone's in on it. It worked excellently on stage, and they’re the kind of rules that can be broken when understood well, which this writer absolutely does.


As the play moves on, the atmosphere takes a darker turn as the truth begins to surface. The finale left me feeling particularly uncomfortable (notwithstanding the creepy music they used in the theatre!) but fulfilled in the experience - all in all a great piece of theatre from an international (to us in the UK at least!) writer.

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