Sunday, 24 April 2022

Edith - In the Beginning

In the summer of 1939 Britain was preparing for war but above the River Deben in sleepy Suffolk a different battle was taking place, one that revolved around a much earlier invader. When Mrs Edith Pretty invited local archaeologist Basil Brown to have a go at excavating the enormous mounds on her land, she was confident that he would find something. It was to be one of the most important finds in British archaeology.

The discovery of the Sutton Hoo treasure has recently received worldwide fame through the Netflix film, The Dig. This alternative interpretation was originally commissioned by the National Trust and performed at Sutton Hoo in 2019 to commemorate eighty years since the discovery of the burial ship and we are proud to be launching its amateur première.

Photography: Andrew Evans

“…this is at heart a sensitive and enjoyable depiction of a relationship that brought us one of the most momentous historic discoveries of the Twentieth Century. That is some achievement, and Director Robert Little and the Sewell Barn team can be proud of their accomplished production.” Julian Swainson, Norwich Eye [click here for full review]

A fascinating show at the Barn tonight - the story of the discovery of the Sutton Hoo treasure. And we were also made aware of the impact of the First World War and the coming of the second. Using documentary form,  Karen Forbes' play explores the impact of the finding of the treasure on individuals' lives through the use of voiceover, flashbacks and naturalistic scenes. Lauren Baston gives backbone to the piece as Edith Pretty and conveys her role with strength and sensitivity. As Basil Brown, Andy Lofthouse is appropriately awkward and enthusiastic in equal measure. They are ably supported by the rest of the cast but in particular, Judi Daykin deserves special mention for her beautiful singing as Queen Raedwald - enough to send shivers down your spine! Sound, projections and lighting enhanced the story with impressive work from  Chad Mason whose voiceovers as Colonel Pretty and Churchill were moving and effective. Congratulations to all! Clare Williamson [Joint Artistic Director, Sewell Barn Theatre]

"If you're looking for a show today, I really do recommend this one! Such heartfelt performances from the cast, telling a fascinating local story." Joanna F





Saturday, 5 March 2022

The Father

 “I feel as if I’m losing all my leaves.”

Why do strangers turn up at André’s door? Why won’t his meddlesome daughter leave him alone? He’s perfectly capable, isn’t he?

The Father plunges us into an increasingly befuddling world, where André’s confusion collides with his powerful sense of self and his long-held convictions. As we become immersed in André’s reality, time shifts, doubts creep, and loyalties are questioned. The play confounds with brutal humour and sinister twists, keeping us in its raw, emotional grip as it explores, Lear-like, the power of love between parent and child.

Photography: Sean Owen

We have been delighted by audience responses (many of which involved a lot of Kleenex and stunned silences) to this powerful production. 

"All six cast members give exceptionally strong performances. John Dane is convincing as a once proud man struggling with a loss of identity and awareness while still trying to hang on to what always mattered to him. The other five cast members handle the transitions between characters so well that at first you doubt your own sanity – which is the point of this play. Go and see this play, and remember it next time you cast your vote, local or national. We are supposed to be a civilised society, but we regularly fail people with dementia and those who support them in their everyday struggle with a condition that only gets worse. It might seem odd, but even though this play covers a difficult subject it is an enjoyable performance superbly delivered." Julian Swainson, Norwich Eye [click here for full review]

"John Dane puts in a stellar performance as André, the titular father who is losing his grip on the world around him... This is not an easy watch, but a rewarding one." James Goffin [click here for full review]

"Such an excellent production from all aspects. Performance. Direction. Design. Sound. Excellent to see." Stash K

"Superb in every way! All round excellence from director and cast. I was riveted to my seat throughout the performance!" Robin S

"Oh my… just come out of a fantastic performance of ‘The Father’ - I’m in bits! In a good way. John Dane as André just amazing. Bravo.  If you’re in Norwich, see it!" Nicky B

"An excellent show - performance perfect." Jonathan R

"What a powerful production, I'm lost for words. Such moving performances by Jenny Belsey and John Dane... huge congratulations to all involved. Great to see Trevor Burton at The Sewell Barn again." Ruth H

"I saw the play on Friday evening and was particularly moved by John Dane's performance. It was a gripping piece of theatre." Leah S

"Six perfect performances, headed by the astonishing John Dane. An extraordinary and desperately moving script. First-class direction from Chris Bealey. A truly remarkable set. Haunting lighting and sound. Dark humour and intakes of breath. An audience stunned into total silence at the end, broken only by sniffs and nose-blowing. Please go see. And take the Kleenex." Cassie Tillett [Joint Artistic Director, Sewell Barn Theatre]



The show plays Thursday 3 to Saturday 5 March and then again from Wednesday 9 to Saturday 12 March, all at 7.30pm, plus a matinee at 2.30pm on 12 March.

Tickets are available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/sewellbarn or 0333 666 3366. Numbers strictly limited to a maximum of 60 per performance for your comfort and safety. 

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Woman in Mind

Ayckbourn’s tragic-comic play is a dark, incisive examination of the plight of a trapped, unappreciated and unfulfilled woman. Susan has invested time and emotional energy in her marriage and family but self-sacrifice has not brought her happiness. Her husband is insensitive and indifferent, her sister-in-law interferes and she is estranged from her son. As a coping mechanism, she has created in her mind the perfect fantasy family who adore and cherish her. However, an eventual blurring of the worlds of fantasy and reality has devastating consequences for her.

Photography: Barry Parsons

Our production opened on Thursday 20 January, and we have been delighted with responses of audiences.

"It blew my mind!! Such stellar performances from everyone involved, especially the amazingly talented Mandy Kiley. Everything about this performance, including the sets, sound, lighting and costume were so professional! Well done everyone." Wendy A

"I would just like to say I went to the play last Thursday with three friends, and we all thought the production was fantastic. The acting was so good I was totally absorbed the whole time, I did laugh out loud but never lost sight of the disintegration of the lead character. Could you please pass on our appreciation to all those who took part." Margaret L

"Great performance, and thought provoking as well as thoroughly entertaining. Professional performances by all. My first visit too, already planning to come to the next show." Robin S

"Sometimes you need a little space to breathe after such powerful theatre… I even nearly left my bag which speaks for itself of how affected I had been! I had two friends with me : friend 1: ‘Susan’ was ‘astonishing’. friend 2 (tends to cast an artistically critical eye): reserved his judgement at the interval but by the final bow had been blown away by theatrical technicalities/acting precision/the sort of utterances a professionally trained actor makes that I can’t quote with any justice…but you get the flavour. A huge congratulations to cast and crew!" Charlotte C

"Went to yesterday’s matinee and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very grim in many ways, but wonderfully witty dialogue and an excellent cast. As Susan’s control slipped away more completely towards the end, I found myself wanting to stop the laughter around her… compelling performances all round. Sincere congratulations to all involved." Shelagh M

"Great show, I loved it! Congratulations to all involved." Julie B

"The intimate Sewell Barn stage leaves few places to hide and [Mandy] Kiley rises to the occasion. Hers is a masterful performance, both physically and vocally... " James Goffin - Cultivated [click here for full review]

"The Sewell Barn cast do great justice to this finely written script, and give us a play that may be difficult but is also a joy to watch... Director Peter Wood has marshalled his cast into giving a faultless and moving performance."   Julian Swainson, Norwich Eye [click here for full review]

"Brilliant play and performances by all especially Mandy Kiley, fantastic as always, and John Griffin excellent having stepped in so late. Don't miss this great show!" Ruth H

"Absolutely brilliant! Great play, well done!!" Vicky F

"It was really good - thought provoking and very well acted. Loved the backdrop of the garden through the gauze. The Barn does it again!" Shelagh S

***

The show plays 20-22 and 26-29 January, with a matinee on 29 January. Tickets £11/£10 from 0333 666 3366 or online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/sewellbarn. We are limiting audience numbers (to 60 out of our usual 100 seats) for your safety and comfort, so advance booking is highly recommended.