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Review: Time and Tide, at Park 90

Bittersweet comedy considers the effects of gentrification and the impact of online shopping

13 February, 2020 — By Caroline Haastrup-Baptiste

Josh Barrow and Elliot Liburd in Time and Tide at Park Theatre. Photo: Gail Harland

SET on Cromer pier, May (Wendy Nottingham) lovingly tends to her dated but cosy caff (cleverly designed by Caitlin Abbott).

Bette Davis photos adorn the walls and a For Sale sign hangs on the door. We learn that May opted to stay in Cromer and care for her elderly mother rather then follow her dreams of becoming a dancer. Now she’s considering selling up and moving to Suffolk.

May’s assistant, gay teenager Nemo (Josh Barrow), has planned his escape to London to study drama and pursue an acting career.

He is uncertain if this is really what he wants and is nervous about leaving everything and everyone he knows so well.

His best friend, chatty, brash Daz (Elliot Liburd) also works at the caff. He’s happy to remain in Cromer but is not sure he wants his life to pan out like his dad’s – “marriage, mortgage and kids”.

Ken (Paul Easom), the local baker and delivery man, makes up the quartet. He rails against chains like Pret A Manger taking over the town and worries about going out of business. He arrives at May’s caff with something else on his mind.

James McDermott’s gentle, bittersweet comedy considers the effects of gentrification and the impact of online shopping on the lives of a local Norfolk community. It’s also about ordinary people’s attempts to break from the past and adapt to change.

In Rob Ellis’s engaging production we are quickly swept up by McDermott’s likeable characters and their various dilemmas. Fizz Margereson’s sea soundscape acts as an evocative backdrop to the unfolding drama.

Until February 29
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