Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eastern Angles
Brentwood Theatre

Off the lonely Suffolk coast a wreck has lain for thirty years. Now it is to be brought to the surface, just as a prickly journalist from London turns up in the the tight-knit local community, with her laptop and her searching questions.

Andrew Holland's Up Out o' the Sea, directed, with his usual sure touch for the intangible, by Eastern Angles' Artistic Director Ivan Cutting, deals with those Eastern Angles stock-in-trade themes of origins, ghosts and time-slips.

A company of five bring some complex characters to life, as their stories unfold and intertwine. Rough-edged chancer Tweedie, looking for love and a way out of the dead-end, was played by Francis Woolf, who caught precisely the mixture of bravado and vulnerability. His colleague Dolphie was Mike Aherne, who managed to make the grumpy old fisherman both believable and sympathetic.

Lisa-Marie Hoctor played two linked characters, both immature, both young mothers; I loved her Emily, the mysterious girl with a touch of the devil, who dreams of passing through into glory …
Laura Harding was brilliantly convincing as the writer with secrets of her own – the picnic at the Point was movingly done, as was the “information versus emotion” dialogue with Lisa-Marie's modern Milly.
And Lisa Tramontin was excellent as the Librarian, by no means a stock character, despite her stereotype hair and cardigan.

The setting was evocative, practical and versatile - I admired the imagination that turned a door with oilskins hanging from hooks into a stretcher for the victims of the storm.

The show is touring the region until 4 June – Essex dates include Margaretting, Brightlingsea and Coggeshall.

This is an edited and updated version of my review for The Public Reviews. Pleased to see the traverse staging made to work so well on the Brentwood stage.

photo by Mike Kwasniak

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