Friday, June 04, 2010

Cider with Rosie’ by Laurie Lee, adapted by Daniel O’Brien

4 June 2010

We were at the Oxford Playhouse last Saturday to see the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds production of ‘Cider with Rosie’ by Laurie Lee – a new adaptation by Daniel O’Brien. An inventive, ensemble piece, with original music by T J Holmes, it uses six actors to play Laurie and his five siblings as well as every other character in the story. The whole cast is onstage throughout, adding sound effects or background action to scenes in which they are not the principal players. The effect is entertaining and amusing with much to admire in its stagecraft and some lovely songs. It reminded me of the stage adaptations of novels by Shared Experience which employ a similar physical ensemble approach. But I would have preferred more narrative drive: the approach was very episodic (in line with the book I assume, though I haven’t read it) and there was little to indicate the overall passage of time through Laurie’s childhood. As a play it grew on me but didn’t grip me, though it received a rapturous reception – I suspect there were plenty of fans of the book in the audience.

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