Truth lies homeward

The Long Way Home, by Charles Way, Eastern Angles on tour until May 22

The Long Way Home, from the pen of master storyteller Charles Way, is a tender, engaging and thoroughly entertaining piece of theatre.

It is the story of Old Mother and Dog Boy who make their way to the sea from the forests, across the fertile plains and over the mountains.

Within that simple context – a peasant woman, steeped in the folklore of her country somewhere, one imagines, in the eastern Mediterranean, undertaking the journey of a lifetime accompanied by a wild boy – we are told folk tales and reminded of universal truths with enormous wit and puppetry.

Elegantly written, beautifully designed and executed, it is a rare treat. Each story within a story is a small gem set in a satisfying whole.

The actors, who have been travelling with The Way Home since February, are comfortable with their characters. This is especially demanding for James Bolt and Jumaan Short who have a number, all of them portrayed with great energy and distinction.

Susan McGoun’s Old Mother, haunted by the ghost of her husband – a fascinating puppet – gives a fine performance conveying great calm, wisdom and inner strength with an endearing lightness of touch.

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She adopts a feral boy and teaches him, as a mother would teach a baby, how to speak and how to understand the complexities of human existence.

She names him Andreas. Theo Devaney is a marvel in the part. He shows the transition from total innocence to awareness and, along the way, shows us a little about the importance of self-knowledge.

I laughed a lot and, inevitably, shed a tear as their journey ended.

You might have had to travel a long way from home to find such a heart-warming and delightful theatrical experience but fortunately, Eastern Angles is on tour for another month with dates in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk still to come.

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