The sea gives, some of the time. It also takes away. You don’t have to live in a coastal area to be aware of these two facts. Andrew Holland’s new play for Eastern Angles Up Out o’ the Sea is a story about a seaside town, when fishing is a dying industry but where the waves continue to levy their own toll. The past and its effect on the present unfold at a measured pace, too much so at times.
Dophie (Mike Aherne) still has a boat and can sell most of what he catches, but he’s only just hanging on to his livelihood. His young helper Tweedy (Francis Woolf) has a vision of making it big, some where else, some time soon as some kind of an artist. The librarian Miss Jope (Lisa Tramontin) keeps the past alive. For this includes a lifeboat tragedy which, for many reasons, a number of people would prefer to forget.
Then along comes Carrie (Laura Harding), a researcher with her own agenda. The many layers of the past are slowly uncovered, as receding tides and modern technology make wreck exploration an attractive target with a built-in television audience (think Time Team. A free-spirited single mother of the present day (Milly) has a predecessor – Emily; Lisa-Marie Hector plays them both.
Ivan Cutting’s direction employs a central acting area designed by Ian Teague with the audience flanking it. The cast is a committed one and make us care about these people, though I would have liked to hear more of Tramontin’s lines than her diction afforded; the Suffolk accent isn’t a particularly difficult one to understand. Aherne’s Dolphie, treading the fine line between bitter reflexion and embitterment, and Harding’s Carrie, uncovering painful as well as positive truths dominate the action.