The Kitchen Sink
17th June 2017
Memorial Hall, Bovingdon
Type of Production
Author: Richard Lovelock
The Kitchen Sink and the playwright Tom Wells were both new to me; the play itself had received some very good reviews when it premiered in 2011 and Mr Wells himself is getting a reputation for plays that can be little strange.
The play is set in the Yorkshire seaside town of Withernsea and follows the course of a family and one interloper over a single year. All of the action takes place in the family kitchen.
The set itself was well designed and built as a kitchen diner, a good achievement on a small stage. It worked well with good effects especially with the running water and the smoking oven. One note I would say is that it would have been improved with some real glass or perspex in the window, otherwise - as happened - actors are inclined to hold onto the window edge putting their hand straight through the invisible pane.
Onto the family itself. The father Martin, is a milkman born and bred who initially refuses to accept the inevitability of his dying trade. Terry Casserley gave us a very straight, believable Yorkshireman struggling to make the decision to quit the trade and then come to terms with unemployment.
Whilst Martin may have been the head of the family, his wife Kath – played admirably by Sharon Gaffney – was at the centre of the family. Sharon gave us a strong minded but thoughtful character who tried to keep the family together. Sharon gave us some wonderful facial expressions and also some of the best humour. I particularly like the scenes when she came on wet through - which was very believable as she was very wet – and the pot smoking scene.
The families two younger members were Billy – Nick Mower – and Sophie – Abbie Broux. Both extreme characters in their own ways, Billy the gay wanabe artist who goes to college and fails, and Sophie the seemingly harder of the two and into martial arts. Unfortunately we lost some of what both Nick and Abbie said, as they delivered their words at too fast a pace, which meant some of the story was lost.
That said their characterisation was very good. Nick gave us a sensitive Billy with a love for Dolly Parton. Abbie’s portrayal of Sophie also showed promise, I was going to say it was feisty but I fear the same fate as her examiner.
The final member of the team was Sophie’s plumber friend Pete, expertly played by Tom Stevenson. Tom gave us a completely believable portrayal. From his first meek and mild entrance where he awkwardly made us aware of his love interest in Sophie he gradually built his character into someone we cared about. He even made his pot smoking Grandmother believable. In the end we were willing him to gain the confidence to fly off and leave Sophie.
Director John Mower had worked his cast hard over the characterisation and accents which had paid off. He moved his players smoothly round the stage and kept the pace flowing, although I felt the final poignant scenes were a little rushed.
On a final note – I loved the musical interludes during scene changes, it is not often you leave a play humming a Dolly Parton tune.