Thu, 21 Nov 2019
REVIEW by Caroline Franklin; Come to Where I’m From,
at the Watermill, Bagnor, on Saturday, November 9
IT is possible that many members of the audience in The Watermill were unaware of the organisation Paines Plough, whose aim is to bring the best in new theatre to audiences – everywhere. The latest project, artistic director Katie Posner told the audience, is to provide opportunities for new writing to be heard throughout the UK. Writers are encouraged to use, as a basis, places which mean something to them personally.
“To know a place you have to know its ghosts,” said Danielle Pearson, whose mesmeric play Combe Gibbet took us back to the tragic happenings in 1676, which resulted in the gibbet being used for its grim purpose. Dorothy and her lover George conspire to kill George’s wife and lie in wait, but as they see her coming, they realise with horror that George’s son is with her. Nevertheless both are killed – there is some debate about the manner of their death – but both were tried and found guilty.
In contrast, Talitha Wing’s Socks, her memories of being a small girl with tightly-plaited black hair and yellow dress who was completely confused by her first days at a Newbury primary school, was funny and touching. Having just come from a school where rules were few, she was required to adjust to life with many more rules, school uniforms and a strident bell, which at first she thought had something to do with a military exercise.
Sophie Stone’s Maybe, delivered with a mixture of passion and down-to- earth common sense, was concerned with a relationship with Rob, each living at opposite ends of a bridge, which was the central theme. In the end, as the two stand together on the bridge before going their separate ways, they are helped by a woman who comes between them and realise there is nothing which helps more than an extended hand. Sophie is co-founder of the Deaf and Hearing Ensemble Theatre Company.
Finally, a very moving play. Beth Flintoff’s A View From The Ridge, spoke of the happiness of running on the beautiful skylark-skied Ridgeway. Then came the terrible sorrow of many miscarriages and the runner would talk to the child who had not survived. Nothing and no one could help, but finally it was on the Ridgeway itself that she learned to “let her feet do the talking” and emerged from despair.
British Sign Language interpreter Fliss Becker impressively kept up, not only with the plays, which she had been able to work on before the performance, but also in the question/ answer session which followed. In a performance which lasted one short hour, the audience were treated to four performances from Newbury playwrights whose talents lay, not only in their writing, but also in making their audience catch the
feelings and moods involved.
A truly enjoyable evening.