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New Era Players - The Kitchen Sink

15th to 18th March and 21st to 25th March 2017.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Soap-sud comedy

Dreams, drama and dirty dishes at New Era

New Era Players: The Kitchen Sink, at New Era Theatre, Wash Common, from Wednesday, March 15, to Saturday, March 25

Very popular in the 1950s and 60s, kitchen sink dramas were the new wave in theatre and usually featured an angry young man. This play, set in a Yorkshire seaside resort, didn't have one but it did feature an angry young daughter.

Emily Beck caught the mood and character of Sophie extremely well and was totally believable as a girl who loses her chance to win a black belt and teach ju-jitsu by punching the examiner on the nose for describing her as 'feisty'. There was a well-observed performance by Alexander Greenwood-Forkin as the young son, shuffling along in teenaged angst, hoping to get into art college with his lurid painting of Dolly Parton wearing a see-through top and with large and very prominent nipples on view.

Suzanne Hudson did well as Kath, the put-upon mother who encourages everybody, even though her own life is lacking. As a school cook and lollypop lady, she is the main breadwinner in the family. Keith Phillips was a suitably downtrodden dad who cannot see that his milk round is no longer viable in a world of huge supermarkets and big plastic bottles of cheap milk. Then there was Pete, a tongue-tied young man who wants to be a plumber and would have liked to court Sophie if he hadn't been so lacking in words. Patrick Lintin gave a strong, believable performance in this part, his best line being that he wanted to 'take my love of drains to the next level'. There was also convincing acting from the not so inanimate kitchen sink, where the taps and pipes kept spurting water when they shouldn't and failing to do so when they should.

The family is obviously falling apart and although there are lots of laughs – particularly when Pete introduces humour with tales of his hip hop-loving, pot-smoking granny – the drama is there between the lines, lacing the comedy effectively. It all made for very good comedy with serious undertones, very well acted and smoothly and unobtrusively directed by twin directors Richard Colley and David Zeke. Lighting and sound effects were also worthy of note, thanks to John Cordery and Crispin Bishop.

A very good production all round. So, not so much a look back in anger as the loneliness of the long distance dysfunctional family, steadfastly mulling over their individual and collective inadequacies.