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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

New Era - Amy's View

9th to 18th September 2010.

Here is the NWN review.

Changing Britain

New Era Players: Amy's View, at the New Era Theatre, Wash Common, from September 9 to 18

David Hare's bittersweet play Amy's View spans the years between 1979 and 1995, a time when Britain was changing politically. Set in a large bohemian house filled with abstract paintings, in rural Pangbourne, the play explores the themes of mother and daughter relationships and the place of theatre within the blossoming new forms of art within the entertainment industry.

Esme is a waning repertory actress looking after her mother-in-law Evelyn (Margaret Rigby) who is suffering from dementia. Janet Bennett perfectly captured the haughty, fickle and sometimes exasperating woman. Her husband Bernie died 15 years ago and her 'old soak' neighbour Frank - delightfully played by Peter Hendrickx - has become romantically involved with her.

Her daughter Amy, a sterling performance by Charlotte Allen visits her mother to introduce her new partner, the ambitious cinema director Dominic - resolutely played by Mike Moors. She reveals the fact that she's pregnant and needs to borrow £5,000. Her relationship with Dominic is both volatile and fragile.

Six years later Dominic has become a highly-successful TV presenter, settled down with Amy and has children. Esme is 'resting' and bemoans the fact that television and new media is killing off theatre. The arguments between her and Dominic are electric. When she criticises his latest blood-filled movie, he says: "We don't call it violence, we call it action."

Esme is persuaded by Frank to invest her money in Lloyd's of London and he manages her portfolio, but when the market crashes she loses everything, accumulating crippling debts through her commitment to 'unlimited liability'. She is forced to rely on the handouts from Lloyd's hardship committee.

To make matters worse, Dominic has left Amy for a young Swedish actress. Mother and daughter become closer in adversity. They both have to take control of their lives. Esme is forced to take work as a nurse in a TV soap.

Tragically, Amy dies unexpectedly and the final scene takes place in a dowdy dressing room backstage where young Toby, a fine performance by Allie Greenwood-Forkin, is also acting. Dominic arrives and tries to become reconciled with Esme and patch up their failed relationship.

Ably directed by Stephen Bennett this was an intelligent and moving play.