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Review: On the Shore of the Wide World

4 March 20 words: Jared Wilson

The new season of Nottingham's famous acting school, the Television Workshop, kicked off with a play about family life...

Maddie Hutchinson (Sarah Black) and Jack Dewitt (Peter Holmes) in On the Shore of the Wide World

Despite taking its name from a sonnet by 19th century romantic poet John Keats, this play is about as 1990s as it gets. The central characters are the Holmes family and, over the course of 90minutes, we see them deal with life, change and grief.

It starts out fairly light with sons Alex and Christopher growing up. Alex has just got his first girlfriend, Sarah, and he’s at that age (eighteen) where his parents, Peter and Alice, have decided to allow her to stay over. However, things begin to get awkward when Christopher develops a crush for her and starts buying her gifts like a photo of then Manchester United star Roy Keane.

From here things become gradually more solemn, although I won’t give the reasons why away as we’d be veering into spoiler territory. But as Director Alison Rashley said in her programme notes “2019 was a tough year and I learned a huge amount about family love and not always getting everything right. This is a play about all of those things.”

Over half of the cast for this play rotates nightly, such is the wealth of talent at the workshop. They all put in convincing and understated performances that set the right tone for a moving story. The soundtrack (mainly The Beatles) helps to move the scenes along and the set is wonderful; like many things at workshop done on a tight budget, but they certainly know how to make the most of a tight budget.  

This play runs until Saturday 7 March. It is the first play in the new Television Workshop season, which lasts all month. For more information and tickets hit up their website.

The Television Workshop

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