Review: Everything Must Go!, by Jon Taverner, Eastern Angles, Sir John Mills Theatre, then Southwold Arts Centre on Sept 30 and Brightlingsea Community Centre Oct 7.

Joe Leat and Rosalind Burt in Eastern Angles' Everything Must Go, a community play examining the way

Joe Leat and Rosalind Burt in Eastern Angles' Everything Must Go, a community play examining the way that shopping has been an important part of the social fabric. Photo: Mike Kwasniak - Credit: Archant

If you think that a play about shopping would be as wearing as standing in a lengthy supermarket checkout queue while a young assistant waited for alcohol clearance then think again. Everything Must Go! is one of the liveliest, most entertaining evening’s I have spent in a theatre this year.

Joe Leat and Rosalind Burt in Eastern Angles' Everything Must Go, a community play examining the way

Joe Leat and Rosalind Burt in Eastern Angles' Everything Must Go, a community play examining the way that shopping has been an important part of the social fabric. Photo: Mike Kwasniak - Credit: Archant

Constructed from interviews carried out in care homes by writer Jon Taverner, this gorgeous character study, explores the social value of shopping and how this seemingly mundane, necessary act is part of the glue that kept communities together and communicating with one another.

It’s also a play that tells the story of the relationship between Tom and his ailing grandmother Dot. As Dot battles with dementia, he volunteers to take her round some of her old haunts, and learns about her changing life as a shop assistant and then shop owner and how the nature of shopping changed with the introduction of the supermarket.

Joe Leat, last seen at Eastern Angles playing a nun in The Mystery of St Finnigan’s Elbow, plays Tom while Rosalind Burt is Dot – as well as a dazzling variety of customers, mothers/fathers, villagers and other extras, all conjured up with the addition of a hat, fresh top coat or the slip of a head scarf.

Joe Leat and Rosalind Burt in Eastern Angles' Everything Must Go, a community play examining the way

Joe Leat and Rosalind Burt in Eastern Angles' Everything Must Go, a community play examining the way that shopping has been an important part of the social fabric. Photo: Mike Kwasniak - Credit: Archant

It’s a warm-hearted play and because it based on the memories of real people, there will be a lot of scenes and situations that will strike a chord with audiences, both young and old.


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It’s also very funny and although it offers a perceptive look at the value of shopping as a community activity and the importance of communication and relationships within towns and villages, it is delivered with a light touch.

Eastern Angles founder Ivan Cutting directs with verve and imagination and the whole thing whips along propelled by its own momentum. You are also aware what excellent actors Joe and Rosalind are as they swap characters with the completion of a sentence or a move across the set. There is never any confusion as to who they are and Dominic Eddington’s set is able to be re-configured in any number of different ways to take us from village store to a car to a vast superstore. A total joy and comes highly recommended.

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