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Our Share of Tomorrow (tour - Colchester, Mercury Theatre)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
  This is a concentrated piece of theatre from the Colchester-based Real Circumstance company. It begins with a complex fusion of mime, sound and lighting as we watch a man being overwhelmed by a storm at sea. What follows in Dan Shearer's play might be the flashback which received wisdom says comes to those who drown. The man is called Tom Elfman.

Years ago he had a girl friend. Perhaps not quite a girl-friend in the full sense of the word; more someone who was a friend as well as being a girl. Her name was Grace, and she went away. Onto the quayside now comes her daughter, Cleo Sparks. For Tom the two young women meld into one personality. Cleo lives up to her surname. She has already also attracted the attention of an older man, John Broughton.

Shearer has directed his own script, not always the wisest course. He makes his excellent cast – especially Tamsin Joanna Kennard as Cleo – speak very quickly and with a strong local accent which is not always easy to follow – even for long-time Essex dwellers like myself. Jot Davies brings out the slightly fey quality of Tom and David Tarkenter exudes the right sort of measured menace as former squaddie John.

Designers James Cotterill (set), Michael Nabarro (lighting) and Steve Mayo (sound) use a judicious mix of the realistic and the symbolic to set the scene for us. In one way, the whole thing has echoes of Crabbe's narrative poem The Borough. Living on the edge of the land can do strange things to people. The sea so often takes more than its fair share of people's chance of any sort of tomorrow.


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