The author, starting with her grandmother’s memories of pea picking in 1950s and 60s Coggeshall, adds a lot of other elements to this story of family secrets.
|"A convincing portrayal of instability"|
Daryl, a black American professor of genetics comes to a conference in Cambridge and uses the opportunity to revisit his childhood home for he is the son of a local woman and one of the American airmen who were stationed nearby. She is dead now but her pea picking friends, although glad to see him, still have problems from the past to resolve. Their hints set Daryl off on a path of discovery about his past and lead him to review his work on genetics in the light of his emotional discoveries: Are we made by our genes or our experiences? Nature or nurture?
There's a lot packed into the play and it demands careful attention from its audience but this is fully repaid: There’s lots to think about and relate to. Detailed performances from the cast and the intimate setting of a small theatre do justice to the emotionally heightened content of the play. Anthony Taylor as the visiting son gives an especially watchable and rich performance, while Rosalind Porter as his mother creates a convincing portrayal of instability.
Simple staging and minimal props suggest the wide open spaces of the pea fields as well as a number of interiors and the haunting music pulls the show together.
It's well worth watching out for this play as it tours East Anglia during April and May.
See Peapickers at the following venues
Wed 4th April – Brentwood Theatre
Tues 24th April – Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford
Tues 1st May – Maldon Town Hall
Fri 4th May – Bolford Street Hall, Thaxted
Thurs 17th May – William Loveless Hall, Wivenhoe
Tues 22nd May – Old Hall, East Bergholt
Thurs 24th and Fri 25th May – Grange Barn, Coggeshall