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October 2004
Seed
Seed
Seed


Seed

The OFS

Wed 20th - Sat 23rd October 2004

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By Benjamin Eyre

Souad Faress's latest play, Seed, details the link between Anglo India and Kent, and the continuing results of the mystery in this relationship. The two actors slowly reveal a plot revolving around the mixed race nature of a very proper English family, something which is shrouded in secrecy and rejection. The play really takes place in the contemporary setting of Tunbridge Wells, something not necessarily obvious, and the nature of English involvement in the subject of the play is subject to much scrutiny.

Edmond (William Maxwell) is a perfect example of the English gentleman's dichotomy in the contrast between the stern laconic treatment of his granddaughter and his manic-depressive outbursts, which are strikingly coarse, in xenophobic response to the ghost of a distant relative. Charlotte Pyke puts in very able and distinct performances as both Andrea and Francis, granddaughter and ghost, and demonstrates the originality of the script and direction. She is able to produce, for both characters, a defining scene of accumulating force that has her pirouette her way to drunken expressionism as Andrea and lapse into caustic verse as the vitriolic ghost Frances. An excellent performance is perhaps only compromised by a lingering smile that blurs the distinction between her two characters.

Although Faress's persistent rhymes, resulting for instance in Andrea 'the mouse' rarely being mentioned without noting the smallness of the 'house,' can become a little staid, the changes in plot and characters are so rapid that such mantra's become useful in keeping track of the not immediately intelligible plot.

The play may lose some intensity in the second half, as the mystery of the exact nature of the plot, one of the most intriguing parts of the first half, is quickly removed but the play makes it's point well. Just as the racist English mind of Edmund is explored with a disturbing intensity; the acceptability of the play in detailing such feelings is mirrored by the need for a happy ending to the plot, achieved through open honesty.

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