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

Watermill Theatre

Box office

01635 46044.

The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury, RG20 8AE. A map is here. A seating plan is here.


Reviews of Nesting

4th to 8th July 2017, and on tour.

Review from Newbury Theatre.

If, like me, you’re quite untidy, the set for the Watermill’s touring production of Nesting is reassuringly familiar: a sitting room whose every surface is piled high with stuff (although for the sake of marital harmony I must stress that our house isn’t as bad as that (yet)). It’s Linda’s house and she’s been hoarding (she calls it ‘collecting’) for more than ten years since her husband died. She’s happy with it except for Toby, the resident rat, and she’s called a pest control firm to get rid of him.

Enter Jonathan to assess the situation. Not unreasonably, he points out that a lot of the clutter will need to be cleared to find and eradicate the rat. Jonathan offers to help tidy up and over time a relationship develops. Jonathan is a lot younger than Linda and he’s neat and tidy (he folds his underpants, he tells us). That in itself is going to be a problem (not the pants; his need for tidiness and control versus her free range approach).

During the interval, Jonathan’s team come in and clear out all the clutter, leaving a tidy room, and after that the conflicts increase.

The story, by Ellen Robertson, is an intriguing one. Linda’s hoarding and Jonathan’s obsessive tidiness are compensating for something missing from their lives, but in a way that allows them to have control. When something threatens to undermine their control, the problems start.

Cathy Walker is fantastic as Linda. Apologetic, nervy and nerdy, her facial expressions beautifully convey her emotions. David Bonnick Jr as Jonathan starts quietly and tentatively in Act 1 as he sizes up the situation, bursting into anger as we see another side of him in Act 2. Both actors work well together to bring out the humour and pathos in this moving play directed by Emily Burns.

Frankie Bradshaw has designed a small set but packed with more things than you’d get in much bigger shows. A special mention should go to the crew who have to unpack and pack this for every production on tour.

Nesting is a funny and poignant play with great acting and a set that’s ideally suited to its tour of village halls. It’s at the Watermill from 4th to 8th July and then continues its tour. Don’t miss it.


Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

The funny side of OCD

Watermill's moving new play tours to rural venues

Nesting, at The Watermill, Bagnor, Tuesday, July 4, to Saturday, July 8, then touring to village halls, rural venues and arts centres until July 22

Ellen Robertson's impressive new play Nesting takes as its themes hoarding, obsessive compulsive disorder, love, relationships and loss. It's quite a list, but it's a witty, funny, and touching story.

Linda – outstandingly played by Cathy Walker, who deftly captured every nuance of this anguished character – lives alone in her home. She is surrounded by the detritus of her life following the death of her investment banker husband, Pete, in a car crash.

She is an obsessive hoarder or, as she calls it, "collecting". But this is an excessive accumulation of 10 years of possessions, including four irons, broken umbrellas galore that will match any outfit she wears and shoes bought in a sale as a present, but never given.

Then there are unopened Amazon parcels, delivered in 2012, trainers because one day she will take up running and her extensive collection of Stevie Wonder records. Plus Toby the rat, who has taken up residence among all this debris.

There are enough sentimental precious possessions to fill several large skips and Frankie Bradshaw's cluttered set perfectly portrays this.

Neurotic Linda decides to call in a pest control specialist to dispose of Toby.

Enter Jonathan, who tells Linda that he needs more space if he is to find the rat.

He agrees to help Linda declutter, but she is reluctant to throw anything away as her whole life is in this house.

Jonathan, superbly played by David Bonnick Jr, is the entire opposite of Linda. He is obsessively concerned with order and tidiness and he even folds his underpants.

Even though Jonathan is much younger, a love affair develops, although their lifestyle differences cause tension.

After the interval, the house is completely cleared by his team and is transformed into a pristine show home, much to Linda's shock and extreme horror.

Stress abounds, as Jonathan becomes more controlling and Linda comes to terms with her grief, learning to be more assured, but with drastic and unexpected consequences.

Skilfully directed by Emily Burns, this moving play is highly recommended.

It tours to village halls until July 22.

Do catch it.


There's an interesting article...

... by Tei Williams about the process in staging a Watermill production, from choosing the play through to the opening night. It's here.

Reviews in the Archive

House and Garden (May 2017)
Twelfth Night (April 2017)
Faust x2 (March 2017)
Murder For Two (January 2017)
Sleeping Beauty (November 2016)
Frankenstein (October 2016)
The Wipers Times (September 2016)
Crazy For You (July 2016)
Watership Down (June 2016)
Untold Stories (May 2016)
One Million Tiny Plays About Britain (April 2016 and on tour)
Romeo and Juliet (February 2016)
Tell Me on a Sunday (January 2016)
Alice in Wonderland (November 2015)
Gormenghast (November 2015) - see the Youth page
The Ladykillers (September 2015)
Oliver! (July 2015)
A Little History of the World (July 2015 and on tour)
Between the Lines (July 2015)
The Deep Blue Sea (June 2015)
Far From the Madding Crowd (April 2015)
Tuxedo Junction (March 2015)
The Secret Adversary (February 2015)
Peter Pan (November 2014)
But First This (October 2014)
Twelfth Night (November 2014) - see the Youth page
Journey's End (September 2014)
Calamity Jane (July 2014)
The Boxford Masques - Joe Soap's Masquerade (July 2014)
Hardboiled - the Fall of Sam Shadow (July 2014)
A Bunch of Amateurs (May 2014)
Sense and Sensibility (April 2014)
Life Lessons (March 2014)
All My Sons (February 2014)
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (January 2014)
Pinocchio (November 2013)
Sherlock's Last Case (September 2013)
Romeo+Juliet (September 2013 and on tour)
The Witches of Eastwick (July 2013)
Laurel & Hardy (June 2013)
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (May 2013)
The Miser (April 2013)
David Copperfield (March 2013)
Sleuth (February 2013)
Arabian Nights (November 2012)
The Tempest (September 2012)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (August 2012)
Boxford Masques (July 2012)
Ben Hur (June 2012)
Of Mice and Men (May 2012)
Love on the Tracks (April 2012 and on tour)
Henry V and The Winter's Tale (April 2012)
Lettice and Lovage (February 2012)
The Wind in the Willows (November 2011)
Some Like It Hotter (November 2011 and on tour)
Great Expectations (September 2011)
Radio Times (August 2011)
The Marriage of Figaro (July 2011)
Moonlight and Magnolias (May 2011)
Richard III and The Comedy of Errors (April 2011)
The Clodly Light Opera and Drama Society (March 2011)
Relatively Speaking (February 2011)
Treasure Island (November 2010)
Single Spies (September 2010)
Copacabana (July 2010)
Daisy Pulls It Off (June 2010)
Brontë (April 2010)
Raising Voices (March 2010)
Confused Love (March 2010)
Heroes (February 2010)
James and the Giant Peach (November 2009)
Educating Rita (October 2009)
Spend Spend Spend! (July 2009 and September 2010)
Blithe Spirit (May 2009)
Bubbles (April to May and September to October 2009)
A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice (March 2009)
Life X 3 (January 2009)
Matilda and Duffy's Stupendous Space Adventure (November 2008)
The Sirens' Call (November 2008)
Our Country's Good (September 2008)
See Newbury Dramatic Society for a review of The Recruiting Officer (October 2008)
Sunset Boulevard (July 2008)
Boxford Masques - Knight and Day (July 2008)
Black Comedy and The Bowmans (May 2008)
London Assurance (April 2008)
Micky Salberg's Crystal Ballroom Dance Band (April 2008 and on tour)
Great West Road (March 2008)
Merrily We Roll Along (March 2008)
Honk! (November 2007)
Rope (September 2007)
Martin Guerre (July 2007)
Twelfth Night (June 2007)
The Story of a Great Lady (April and September 2007, and on tour)
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (April 2007)
For Services Rendered (March 2007)
Plunder (January 2007)
The Snow Queen (November 2006)
Peter Pan in Scarlet (October 2006)
The Taming of the Shrew (September 2006 and on tour in 2007)
Hot Mikado (July 2006 and September 2009)
Boxford Masques: The Crowning of the Year (July 2006)
Hobson's Choice (May 2006)
Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (April 2006)
Tartuffe (February 2006)
The Jungle Book (November 2005)
The Gilded Lilies (October 2005)
Copenhagen (September 2005)
The Garden of Llangoed (September 2005 and September 2006)
Thieves' Carnival (July 2005)
The Shed (July 2005)
Mack and Mabel (May 2005)
The Odyssey (May 2005)
Broken Glass (April 2005)
The Winter's Tale (January 2005)
Arabian Nights (December 2004)
See Newbury Dramatic Society for a review of Whose Life is it Anyway? (November 2004)
Multiplex (November 2004)
Neville's Island (September 2004)
The Comedian (September 2004 and March 2005)
Raising Voices Again (September 2004)
Pinafore Swing (July 2004)
The Venetian Twins (May 2004)
The Gentleman from Olmedo (April 2004)
Mr & Mrs Schultz (March 2004 and on tour)
Sweeney Todd (February 2004)
The Emperor and the Nightingale (November 2003)
See Newbury Dramatic Society for a review of An Ideal Husband (November 2003)
A Star Danced (September 2003)
The Fourth Fold (September 2003)
The Last Days of the Empire (July 2003)
Accelerate (July 2003)
Dreams from a Summer House (May 2003)
The Triumph of Love (April 2003)
Gigolo (March 2003)
Raising Voices (March 2003)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (February 2003)
The Firebird (November 2002)
Ten Cents a Dance (September 2002)
Dancing at Lughnasa (July 2002)
Love in a Maze (June 2002)
Fiddler on the Roof (April 2002)
I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls (March 2002 and March 2006)
Only a Matter of Time (February 2002)
Cinderella and the Enchanted Slipper (November 2001)
Piaf (October 2001)
The Merchant of Venice (October 2001)
Witch (September 2001)
The Clandestine Marriage (August 2001)
The Importance of Being Earnest (May 2001)
Gondoliers (March 2001)
Rose Rage (February 2001)
Carmen (July 2000)