A ‘terrific production’ of Our House at Welwyn Garden City’s Barn Theatre
PUBLISHED: 11:26 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:41 19 November 2018
Emily Perry reviews Our House at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City.
Back to the Barn Theatre for another contemporary play focusing on relationships.
This production has a northern tone and plenty of direct humour.
John Godber’s play, set in Yorkshire, and apparently autobiographical, starts in 2001 but we regularly dip back in time from 1958 to 2001.
We cover the miners’ strikes from the 80s and we get a feel for life in that time, in particular, Thatcher’s reign and the closure of the mines.
There is a political tone to the piece and you can’t help but make a connection and comparison to present day.
All of the cast give excellent performances and work extremely well as an ensemble.
The direction of the piece works well with their energy and keeps the audience engaged throughout.
The main character, and our narrator, is the mother, May, played by Suzie Major.
May is moving out of her home of 45 years and takes us on a historical journey of her life and marriage.
Suzie Major not only captivates her audience with her performance of May, she draws us in and we identify with May as a wife, mother, grandmother and widow.
Initially I thought she might tell us her story solo, as we learn very early on that her husband Ted has died.
However, we are quickly taken back and introduced to Ted when he’s still alive.
Pete Dawson brings Ted to life, literally, and gives a wonderful performance, full of energy, playfulness and humour.
We see that May and Ted had a marriage that most people would love to have.
The other characters in the play, the son, removal man and neighbours all give strong performances.
For this production, I feel Suzie Major’s interpretation and portrayal of May is outstanding and to me, she is the star of the show.
I know I comment on it a lot, but the standard of acting overall really does make you forget that this is not a professional venue.
Set design was lovely and worked very well for the piece.
The fixed/static design required no scene changes to distract, which also helped to maintain the fast pace and energy of the piece.
Lighting, sound, props and costume all support and complement.
The lighting particularly contributed, with subtle changes helping to show the change in time from past to present day.
Once again the Barn Theatre has staged a terrific production, please go and see it before we hit pantomime season!
• Our House plays at the Barn Theatre until Saturday, November 24.
There are evening performances at 8pm, and a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday, November 24.
Tickets cost £13 and are available online at www.barntheatre.co.uk or from the box office on 01707 324300.
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