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David Porter » Reviews » Peapickers


Eastern Angles Theatre Company at the Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 3 April 2007


Eastern Angles have built up a reputation second to none in the world of devised theatre from well-researched, local heritage.

They bring the past to life, with meaning for today. This one is different in that it has no songs to punctuate the narrative or give characters a commentary opportunity.

It’s a well-written play, though – by Nicola Werenowska – the tale of an American geneticist who is the product of a relationship between an Essex peapicker and a black US airman in the 1960s. He comes looking for his roots.

Straddling two eras, it gets to grips with the nature-versus-nurture debate. He was raised in England with mum till he was six; thereafter with dad stateside.

Daryl (Anthony Taylor) gradually explores the truth of his parents’ love, or who he really is and his mum’s manic depression.

Aided by mum’s two friends (Carman Rodriguez and Anne Kavanagh), that truth becomes more uncomfortable. He even discovers a white half-brother (David Mara).

Susan (Rosalind Porter) as the mum in the Sixties reveals the dark side of what we call bi-polar disorder today.

It strikes a balance between fact and half-remembered fiction, between the clever medical world of today and the other world of 40 years ago.

Worth catching on their tour this spring. After all, who are we really? How many of us really know about our origins?

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