A sense of belonging is a powerful driving force and is at the heart of Eastern Angles latest site specific production Bentwater Roads. The company the ‘Hush House’ on the former cold war Bentwaters air base, a building that was used to test engines on A10 tank buster planes. It proves to be a wonderful atmospheric theatrical venue, its architecture proving a visual backdrop to the piece.
Charlie returns to Suffolk in her bright yellow camper van to sort out her mother’s estate. She thinks she has no links to the area and so is keen to sell her mothers cottage as soon as possible and return to a life on the road but ghosts from her past soon take her on a different road.
As well as a personal sense of belonging, Bentwater Roads is also a community’s sense of belonging, exploring the many communities that have called the airbase home. Ancient Brittons, the US Air Force, Medieval Christians and the modern day community have all called the place where a small river turns home.
Tony Ramsay’s play is a complex one, with interwoven timelines and overlapping eras resulting in many story arcs to be resolved during the play. With so much happening it is easy to get lost and it is really only at the end of the production that these seemingly disparate strands are tied together. Although on an epic scale at the end of the day it all boils down to a father and daughter’s love.
Director Ivan Cutting uses the space to full advantage, focusing in on the intimate when needed before pulling out to use the full cavernous space. With such a time-span to cover this is truly an ensemble cast, with professional actors supplemented by a large chorus from the local community.
Easter Angles work best when their productions link back to the local community and Bentwater Roads sees them back on top form. Bentwater Roads shows that you don’t need a traditional venue to make theatre work and this turns out to be an epic play in an epic building.