UP OUT O’ THE SEA
by Andrew Holland.
Eastern Angles tour to 4 June 2011.
Runs 2hr 20min One interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 30 March at Garboldisham Village Hall.
A piece that knows its place.
While solidly constructing its platform in urban Peterborough, Eastern Angles continues in shows like this to tramp the byways of Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex with new plays exploring the region’s identity. Here, past and present intertwine as a journalist arrives in a fishing village to explore events a generation back.
Carrie’s arrival, however, turns out a return, and motive is integral to mysteries explored and uncovered.
Andrew Holland’s play, like Angles’ boss Ivan Cutting’s production, demonstrates the strengths and sometime limitations of the company’s rural work. They’re willing to make demands on audiences in complexity in story and storytelling – aware, no doubt, that TV drama has made people more sophisticated in picking-up hints and following time-switches.
There’s an intense feel of locality, going beyond the surface of the setting and regional accents. Ian Teague’s design for the traverse staging, set between two banks of spectators, moves almost subliminally from a high coastal cliff and deck of a ship to the quiet landlocked safety of a public library. On and around this raised area, comings and goings help give a sense of community, but also of lives lived with their own secrets.
And there’s the pace of events, the relation between local characters and the visitor, the sense of lives where what’s unspoken is as eloquent as anything said. Any of these points could apply in all kinds of play, but there’s a particular amalgam right for the region, that Cutting, after almost thirty years of the company, understands intimately.
But complexity isn’t the same as confusion, and sometimes writer and director, between them, make the emerging plot, so significant to the characters, difficult to follow in full – it has to be pieced together from hints, sometimes made by actors facing away and can be unclear.
And while Francis Woolf’s bright and eager young Tweedy and Mike Aherne’s old salt Dolphie have a clear impact, there is a variability in the range and expression of the acting overall. Not, then, among Angles’ most memorable outings, though it might have been with another rework. But certainly a piece that knows its place.
Tweedy: Francis Woolf.
Dolphie: Mike Aherne.
Carrie: Laura Harding.
Mrs Jope: Luisa Tramontin.
Milly/Emily: Lisa-Marie Hoctor.
Director: Ivan Cutting.
Designer: Ian Teague.
Lighting: Penny Griffin.
Sound: Tom Taylor.