The Block: Restart by Frank Osborne

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Grapevine Audio-Visual Productions, 27 April 2012
Set on a fictional estate, known as the Amersham Estate, The Block is an episodic drama involving a brother and sister. Will (Charles Ashford) is entrusted with the responsibility of looking after Lottie (Alexandra Farrow), after their mother has committed suicide. This is no easy task: Will has to find an income-generating job, while ensuring that Lottie continues her studies at college. The dwelling they inhabit is in a squalid estate, whose inhabitants seem threatening, to say the least.
Frank Osborne's drama concentrates on the interplay between brother and sister: while they are obviously fond of one another, their mother's death threatens to break them up. Hitherto Lottie has led a sheltered life under her mother's protection; somewhat self-centredly, she cannot understand why her mother should have left her unprotected. Will has a more pragmatic view of their situation: their mother really could not continue living, after a life spent caring for two children with no one to support her. He has a particular secret, imparted to him by the mother just before she died, which he does not want to tell; once Lottie finds out, she refuses to talk to her brother.
The Block is a raw, uncompromising drama, in which sound-effects have been effectively used to create a threatening ambience. This is what makes Will and Lottie's existence so difficult; they have to carve out a new life in the most unpromising of circumstances. The leading actors give effective performances in challenging roles: I look forward to their characters developing in future episodes.
Grapevine AV is a new venture set up by Nardia Millington and Samantha Brough. I hope they have sufficient time and energy to see it prosper.