It was only a few weeks ago that Just Stop Oil stormed the stage at the Sondheim Theatre in London’s West End and stopped the show in protest.

We’ve seen countless demonstrations across the country from Brexit to Gaza, Climate to Covid and even on the Island we’ve seen the public grabbing placards in frustration at the ferries and the threat of school closures.

A timely topic for the Apollo Theatre’s latest offering.

Some people take part in one protest that really affects them and others seem to be ‘career campaigners’ who spend their lives protesting about a whole array of issues.

In Apologia, the light is shone on the life of one of these full time campaigners and the toll that has had on her family.

Set in a large, and beautifully decorated kitchen-diner, the life-long liberal campaigner Kristin Miller hosts a meal for her birthday and also the release of her new memoirs.

Her close family gather to celebrate and also raise questions about why they don’t get a mention in her ‘life and times’ book.

Alexi Kaye Campbell’s drama feels at times like he has just typed ‘write a family drama’ into Chat GPT and out popped a rather formulaic play that is full of contradictions and doesn’t say an awful lot.

He hangs what should be an interesting story, on the tired setting of this family reunion around a dinner table. 

The play may be clunky, but the cast are far from it! This is a fresh, talented and dynamic team of five who all deliver strong performances.

Laura Hedgecox and Paul Gwinnett bring some much needed energy to the first half with their brilliant portrayals of jobbing TV actress, Claire (Hedgecox) and the camp-as-Christmas family friend, Hugh (Gwinnett).

These two characters are bold and brave enough to stand up to the firebrand matriarch, Kristin and deliver their comedic moments with great timing and flair.

Ginnie Orrey has the toughest job of all as the do-gooding diva, Kristin. I wanted to see more energy and passion she had for her work protesting to contrast her neglect and disinterest in her family - the problem is the writing and not in Orrey’s distinguished and delightful performance. She has great presence as the powerful but distant head of the family.

Jason Harris delivers an assured performance as both of Kristin’s sons. The uptight Peter trying to please both his mother and fiancé, and Simon, mid-breakdown who rocks up in the middle of the night with a cut on his hand.

Both characters are understandably resentful of their mother, bitter about their neglectful upbringing and trying, desperately, to cope with confronting issues in contrasting ways.

Yes, it is a gimmick designed by the playwright to have the same actor play the two brothers but Harris does this well with subtle differences between the two and a super speedy costume change.

It is always wonderful to see new faces on the Apollo stage and Erin Richardson is a splendid young performer. She plays the newest member of the family, Peter’s partner, Trudi.

A faultless accent and subtle nervous gestures that contrasts her traditional Christian American values contrast perfectly with Kristin’s liberal views.

Apologia runs until Saturday at the Apollo Theatre and is definitely worth watching for these great performances.