Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

The class war struggles on in Wesker's 1950s classic Roots.

The music of the Norfolk dialect and Beatie's struggle to think for herself make this one of my favourite plays.

It's fascinating to find how much autobiography is written into these characters, and to what extent Wesker's voice found its way into Ronnie, the boyfriend, who tries to free Beatie from the shackles of working-class thought.

Roger Parsley's production at the Maddermarket took no liberties.

This was Kitchen Sink Theatre as it would originally have been performed (more or less.) The style was low key and conversational and the set realistically shabby.

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Company ensemble work showed thoughtful by-play and Michael Catling in particular shone as the father. But in my view, Louise Brighton as Beatie didn't trust her instincts enough, which left her without the conviction to drive the play along with the passion and fire that it deserved.

That said, Roots is a masterpiece of observation which holds up a mirror to a Norfolk we know still exists; and who knows how far it can fly, as the week goes on.

As it says in the play, this is just the “beginning”.

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