James Bolt and Susan McGoun
Snape Maltings Concert Hall
17 February 2010 WOS Rating: Average Reader Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews It is unusual for Eastern Angles to perform a play not specifically written for them – the only other time in fact was another Charles Way play – I n the Bleak Midwinter, back in 2000. So why pick this one? A play written by a Welshman set in Greece about the journey of an old woman as seen through the eyes of two storytellers? In some ways this play is typical for the company – the set is multi-purpose, the props become many things, the actors play many characters. But this is a play where language and stories are more important than the plot, and with the strong use of puppetry seemed much more suited to children’s theatre – not surprisingly since Way is predominantly a children’s writer. Susan McGoun plays the central character of Old Mother with believable gravitas – we follow her journey from the village where she has spent her marriage back through the mountains to her childhood home. She is accompanied by a strange creature she finds in the woods, a half-wild dog-boy, convincingly played by Theo Devaney, and sets about teaching him to speak and to act like a proper human. Along the way they come across a number of different characters – all created enthusiastically by James Bolt and Jumaan Short (who as The Storytellers in effect control what happens during the play) as well as being the puppeteers. Especially effective is the puppet of Old Mother’s dead husband, a wonderful creation from a cooking pot and rags, who becomes a catalyst for a lot of the emotion in the story. The pace was slow in the first half, but I saw it on the first night and it picked up once the actors relaxed into their performance. The lighting is fairly basic, the main effect being a rising sun, but using unaccompanied song as well as imagery the cast works hard to create this strange world. Directed by Naomi Jones, this is not an easy play to stage for an adult audience. Possibly the only way to enjoy it is to suspend disbelief and buy into the rather surreal presentation of what is effectively a fairytale in the Brothers Grimm tradition. The cast are personable, the play is watchable, humorous in places and certainly different. Defiantly something to try with an open mind. - by Suzanne Hawkes Related Content Back to Southeast Homepage
Score Comment Date I saw the second night at Aldeburgh and was very dissapointed - I dont understand how the review above can give it three stars. - James 19 Feb 10
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