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Time and Tide By James McDermott at Park Theatre | Review

Josh Barrow and Wendy Nottingham in Time & Tide, Park Theatre - Credit Gail Harland.
Josh Barrow and Wendy Nottingham in Time & Tide, Park Theatre – Credit Gail Harland.

It is always fascinating to see the first production of a new play, especially when it is as enjoyable as this! James McDermott is a writer and performance poet based in East Anglia and has been working on Time and Tide for several years – all credit to Park Theatre for being willing to stage it!

Time and Tide is set in May’s crumbing café at the end of Cromer pier. For those whose don’t know, Cromer is a small, ‘fading’ seaside resort at the end of a long branch line to Norwich on the north coast of Norfolk. Ken, the cafe’s bread delivery man is running out of customers thanks to Costa, Nando’s, Wetherspoons etc taking root in the town. In fact, the mention of Nando’s caused one of the biggest laughs of the evening! Not only is Ken running out of customers, not one person patronises the café during the entire course of the play!

This touching comic drama examines the lives of a Norfolk community struggling with change.

May, very believably played by Wendy Nottingham, is struggling with the choice of selling her café and moving to Suffolk(!) to live with a school friend she hasn’t seen for years, or ploughing her mother’s savings into the café – good money after bad? She also mentors the two young people who work in the café, though goodness knows how she can afford to pay her staff!

One of these is Nemo, struggling with his sexuality and whether or not he should leave Cromer in order to study at university in London. As portrayed by Josh Barrow, he is gawky and unsure of himself and life, often unable to express his feelings in words.

Eliot Liburd plays the other, Daz, perhaps the best drawn of the characters and totally believable. He is clearly not very intelligent, being forced to apply for an electronics course at the local college for which even he knows he is not fitted. Even he can see that if many more young people leave the town for a better life elsewhere, he will be friendless, especially if one of those people is Nemo.

The rather irritating bread delivery man, always around when he not wanted, is in the very capable hands of Paul Easom, a tragic character who sees the world he has known for many years disappearing around him.

The director, Rob Ellis, ensures that the pace inherent in the dialogue is maintained throughout, and the third act especially is painful and moving to watch. Caitlin Abbott has designed a very true-to-life ‘greasy spoon’ café which WORKS! We can see and smell bacon cooking, coffee being brewed and later sandwiches being made and salad prepared!

All in all, a very creditable, most enjoyable and often very funny first play from James McDermott, with just the right touches of pathos when required. Recommended!

4 stars

Review by John Groves

May runs a crumbling cafe on the end of Cromer Pier. Her delivery man, Ken, is running out of customers, thanks to Costa. Nemo is desperate to tread the boards in London. His unrequited love, Daz, is burying his head in the sand over his best mate leaving.

Time And Tide is an LGBT comic drama about a Norfolk community, struggling with change.

Relish Theatre are proud to present the world premiere of Award-winning writer James McDermott’s new play. Time and Tide was longlisted for The Verity Bargate Award, the Bruntwood and Papatango Playwriting Prizes, and developed as part of Park Theatre’s Script Accelerator Programme.

CAST
WENDY NOTTINGHAM – MAY
PAUL EASOM – KEN
ELLIOT LIBURD – DAZ
JOSH BARROW – NEMO

CREATIVE
WRITER – JAMES MCDERMOTT
DIRECTOR – ROB ELLIS
PRODUCER – AMY HENDRY
PRODUCTION MANAGER – ZARA JANMOHAMED
SET & COSTUME DESIGN – CAITLIN ABBOTT
LIGHTING DESIGN – MARTHA GODFREY
SOUND DESIGN – FIZZ MARGERESON
STAGE MANAGER – ISABELLA VAYONI
MOVEMENT DIRECTOR – JAKE PHILLIPS HEAD
VOICE AND DIALECT COACH – JESSICA HAMMETT
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR – CELESTE VASSALL
CASTING DIRECTOR – NICHOLAS HOCKADAY

Relish Theatre in association with Park Theatre present the World Premiere of
Time and Tide
By James McDermott
Directed by Rob Ellis
Developed as part of Park Theatre’s Script Accelerator programme

Author

  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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