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The Kitchen Sink

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The Bush may have moved round the corner to its new home on the Uxbridge Road, but they’ve not lost the knack of finding typical Bush new plays. Tom Wells’ slight but appealing new domestic comedy is just the job: and they’ve even boxed in the big new space to make it look like a slightly less cramped version of the old theatre.

You know where you are when young Billy, hoping to go to art college, flaunts his new portrait of Dolly Parton, and asks his mum: “What d’you think about the nipples?” Mum’s a dinner lady, dad’s a milkman and sister’s taking ju-jitsu lessons.

But things aren’t going to plan. There are funny smells in the sink, dad’s milk float is on its last legs, sister Sophie is not getting on brilliantly with the lessons, or her boyfriend Pete the plumber, and Billy’s going to London. They’re even selling hummus in Tesco’s.

Where are we, exactly? The small Yorkshire coastal town of Withernsea, a good place to come from, but not to end up in: “It’s knackered and funny and it’s falling into the sea.” In its own quiet and clever way, this is a classic comedy of moving out and moving on but also sentimentally acknowledging that there’s no place like home.

Tamara Harvey’s production is a small gem, with lovely acting from Ryan Sampson as the too good to be gay Billy, Lisa Palfrey as his Mum, Kath, who strikes out herself with a joint in the second act (and we’re not talking Sunday roast, oh no), Steffan Rhodri as milkman Martin and Leah Brotherhead as sister Sophie.

They are all jostled out of their ruts, and Pete the plumber (Andy Rush) loses his grandma and decides to go to Australia for three months. Billy ends up working in a call centre and Christmas dinner is sushi. That’s how drastic the upheavals are, though there’s hardly a ripple on the surface of a play that is consistently funny, beautifully written and a good deal less than disconcerting.


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