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Sing and Sign Stage 1 (6-18 Months)

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Sing And Sign Stage 2 (1 - 2½ Years)

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Sing and Sign Stage 1 (6-18 Months)

Sing and Sign Stage 1 (6-18 Months)

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Sing And Sign Stage 2 (1 - 2½ Years)

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Independent- Review: Rutherford and Son

Mon 04 Mar 2013

Written by Holly Williams

 

 

Rutherford & Son (Playhouse, Oxford ****)  features a young woman parachuted into a world of frosty relations and upper-class pretensions. Again, generation gaps and a struggle for upward social mobility are dramatised, albeit in a rather more serious tone.

Mary moved in with her husband's overbearing father, John Rutherford, for the sake of her infant son's health. Rutherford runs the home with tyrannical force, and is prepared to sacrifice the happiness of his three children for the success of his glass-making company.

Written by Githa Sowerby in 1912 – when it was rare for a woman to pen a play, let alone a smash hit – it was based on her grandfather, and set in Newcastle. This fine revival, showcasing the impressive muscularity of her writing, is by Northern Broadsides. Blake Morrison transposes the action smoothly to Yorkshire, sprinkling nowts and 'appens over the script. Jonathan Miller directs an assured production, led by company founder Barrie Rutter as Rutherford – a role that could have been written for him.

A light box functions as an ornate glass ceiling; the room is stiffly furnished in polished wood, gloomy but for a few candles in a December chill. Miller likens the text to Chekhov, but in its unravelling of bruised relationships, thwarted ambitions and family secrets, it even prefigures later American writers such as Eugene O'Neill or Arthur Miller.

Catherine Kinsella as Mary is ardent, humane, intelligent – believable as both the only high-minded inhabitant of the house, and a surprisingly shrewd businesswoman. Nicholas Shaw as her husband is twitchy, fluttery, a little too petulant. In contrast, forelock-tugging worker Martin (Richard Standing) succeeds through stillness. A tricky character; Miller makes him the stoical, silent type, and it works. And Sara Poyzer as daughter Janet is so bitter that when she finally speaks truth to power, raging at Rutherford, it's with such acidity that the audience recoils.

But she's nothing on Rutter's Rutherford. He puffs out his chest, commanding all hearth and home – and the auditorium too. There is dark humour in his scathing comments, but Rutter lets us see this domineering patriarch's own internal tragedy, while still punching home his destructive cruelty. Weighty stuff, in the best possible way.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/reviews/theatre-review-trelawny-of-the-wells--heres-to-us-theatre-people-to-the-corps-8517903.html

 

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