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As Ye Sow

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Clifford, a Yorkshire farmer with a guilty secret, is assailed by ghosts and strange lighting in his care home. The sinister handyman, a thwarted ceramicist nothing like Grayson Perry, looms in a window and slams down a shovel.

Clifford’s wife has been missing for eight years and he’s hidden her photograph in a drawer. His daughter arrives with flowers and fruit and declares that some of the farm land must be sold off to developers to pay for his care home fees – and his grand-daughter’s education.

Stewart Pringle’s forty-minute Gothic horror show overlays this familiar-sounding domestic scenario with surprise effects and hallucinatory switches suggesting that Clifford (Jeffrey Mayhew) may be watching his own special episode of Emmerdale Farm mixed with Inspector Morse.

Tom Richards’ intense production doesn’t always differentiate between reality and nightmare, but that’s possibly the point. And if Clifford really does reap as he sows, they’re going to have to rebuild Alice Saville’s clever set after every performance.

Like many plays on the fringe, there is both too much plot and not enough writing, but Pringle’s promising, and there’s a lovely cameo from Stephanie Walls as a garrulous nurse, with good support from John Garfield-Roberts as the agent of destruction and Scarlet Sweeney as Clifford’s scheming daughter.


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