Review: Smallholding, by Chris Dunkley, HighTide Festival, Halesworth,

Smallholding which premiered at the HighTide Festival in Halesworth

Smallholding which premiered at the HighTide Festival in Halesworth - Credit: Archant

Smallholding, by Chris Dunkley, HighTide Festival, The Cut, Halesworth, May 7

Smallholding which premiered at the HighTide Festival in Halesworth

Smallholding which premiered at the HighTide Festival in Halesworth - Credit: Archant

A young couple, Jenny and Andy, arrive at a run-down country cottage ready to start a new life.

But it soon becomes apparent that Andy – playful, boisterous and lusty - has a history of heroin addiction. As the lying and denials increase Jenny vainly fights to keep hope – and the relationship – alive.

Jenny has brains as well as compassion but has already been introduced to the drugs scene by the immature but clearly lovable Andy.

Matti Houghton and Chris New provide the total conviction for their roles in this gritty piece of drama, sensitively directed by Patrick Sandford.


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The two actors have a great rapport, working hard to maintain the underlying tensions which lead to explosions - of love, anger, frustration and, ultimately, despair.

As the relationship degenerates, so the domestic debris accumulates, littering the stage and the characters’ fragile lives.

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The clearing of this debris prior to the final scene was over-fussy and slowed the pace of the production.

A well staged hallucinatory scene was also rather marred by an all too substantial Father Christmas.

The play makes for hard viewing but has a stark and powerful message.

David Green

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