New Era - People Snogging in Public Places
6th to 8th October 2011.
Here is the NWN review.
The thumbs-up from playwright
Jack Thorne enjoys 'a really special night' at New Era
People Snogging in Public Places, at the New Era Theatre, Wash Common, from Thursday, October 6 to Saturday, October 8
New Era began the next chapter of its life with an innovative staged production of Jack Thorne's award winning radio play People Snogging in Public Places at the Wash Common playhouse.
The Wash Common theatre is now open to all, having recently been granted a premises licence, and the first attempt to perform more challenging material was a rousing success according to Thorne, who took in the Friday showing in a rare trip back to the town he grew up in.
The tale revolves around an uncle with learning disabilities who moves in with his nephew's family, and the boy's difficult relationship with the older man.
Based partly on his own childhood, Thorne, a former member of the theatre, said watching the New Era players and director Nigel Winter expertly bring his words to life was an emotional experience.
The play examines the consequences of disability on family members as it flits through a troubling week in the life of a teenager and Thorne said James Winter, who plays teenager James, was a stand-out performer.
"There is a part where James is worried he is going to turn into his uncle, it's the crucial part of this play. He was terrific, James handled it brilliantly," Thorne said.
"It was great, I really loved it; it was a lovely production. The performances were terrific. They were very faithful to the original script.
"It was a really special night, and was really special for my mum too. A lot of it is about her. She got a really big kick out of it."
Thorne, well on his way to becoming one of the UK's leading drama writers having scripted episodes of TV dramas Shameless, Skins and This is England 86 before the creation of his own series, The Fades, has become expert at weaving music and pop songs into his work as emotive devices.
As it often does in the most turbulent of teenage years, music forms an integral part of production, and while a radio play may make best use of snatches of songs and samples, Thorne said New Era made sure the translation was faithful down to the last clip.
"They had sourced all the music links, there were absolutely loads of them and they found and used them all, a lot of effort must have gone into it.
"There were a lot of people smiling at the end."
New Era can now expand from four performances a year to many more and with their first leap into the unknown bagging a ringing endorsement from one of the UK's hottest talents, the future looks bright for one of Newbury's best kept secrets.