Review: Parkway Dreams, by Kenneth Emson, Eastern Angles, at Sir John Mills Theatre, until Oct 3, then Mercury Studio, Colchester, Oct 23-24

Parkway Dreams by Eastern Angles which is currently touring.

Parkway Dreams by Eastern Angles which is currently touring. - Credit: Archant

I would imagine it is only in the UK that you could ever imagine finding a musical about post war town planning. Indeed, as a concept, its appeal initially seems unlikely: places like Milton Keynes and Peterborough, whose story Parkways Dreams brings to life, have never managed to conjure much nostalgia in the popular imagination.

Parkway Dreams by Eastern Angles which is currently touring.

Parkway Dreams by Eastern Angles which is currently touring. - Credit: Archant

Nevertheless, Eastern Angles’ Parkway Dreams documents this fascinating era in social history with a highly interesting and often hilariously entertaining piece of outstanding ensemble theatre.

Ivan Cutting’s slick and thought provoking production moves through modern history at a breakneck speed. The actors skilfully jump in and out of roles maintaining an impressive energy that carries us from pre-war idealism, politicians and town planners to the real lives of the new residents, portrayed as pioneers, albeit seemingly disenfranchised, desperate ones.

London of the late 60s is not the swinging one we have read about. The crisis is housing sounds depressingly familiar.

Our story swings from fact to fiction via many hilarious pastiches of TV favourites such as Carackerjack and Blankety Blank. These push the very detailed narrative along. Unfortunately, like most bureaucracy, it does lose you in places.


You may also want to watch:


As a musical, all your Parkway Dreams do come true! Even Queensgate shopping centre, the jewel in Peterborough’s crown, is awarded its own laugh out loud tribute. “It is bigger and better than Brent Cross,” and hysterically pinpoints the moment in the 1980s when shopping was transformed into a kind of modern day spiritual experience.

Charlie Cridlan’s set design, in a brutalist grey, evokes the functionality of the era and the ever present street lamps with their alien long necks, hanging over the action gives a sense of uniformity and exposure that is both comforting and ghastly.

Most Read

Even if you have never been to Peterborough, watching C & A, BHS and Littlewoods fight it out with John Lewis is worth the ticket price alone!

Jackie Montague

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus