The Tide is high on quality
September TidePreston PlayhouseUntil Saturday
The sounds of waves, seagulls and storms sets the scene in seaside Cornwall.
The action takes place in the home of Stella Martyn and, judging by the set, with its piano, wireless and homely surrounds, around 1948.
Jane Rawkins gave an excellent portrayal of widow Stella, with her feminine dresses and maternal instinct to nurture her children even into adulthood. Unfortunately this has turned them into selfish people who still expect to be waited on hand and foot.
Stella’s newly married daughter Cherry (Bethan Crook) and artist husband, Evan (Neil Proctor), arrive. It is obvious Cherry adores her old home and wants Evan to feel the same.
Cherry appears rather unfeeling towards Evan, who seems more interested in his work than his new bride and Stella wonders if this is the modern way of married life.
Evan is enchanted with the home and the view – but even more besotted by his new mother-in-law.
When a storm brews and Cherry can’t get home, Stella and Evan’s feelings for each other intensify. Like a September tide, nobody knows what will happen and the audience are left wondering whether or not they gave way to their emotions. Will Stella and Evan get together or will she accept the proposal of Robert Hanson (Andrew Wygladala) who has asked her to marry him so often without acceptance it has become a family joke?
Jimmy, Stella’s son (Neil Williams) arrives, nursing a gammy foot which gives rise to Stella mollycoddling her children again, and Jackie Calvert has a nice cameo role as the daily help, Mrs Tuck, with her turbaned head, stooped walk and ankle socks (adorning legs too shapely for the part).
Director George Mackin skilfully brings out the conflicting emotions of this play showing the changing times and attitudes of a new post-war Britain.