Southwick Players’ Brighton and Hove Arts Council Drama Awards 2018 entry The Corn is Green reviewed

Southwick Players' cast for The Corn is Green. Picture: Miles Davies
Southwick Players' cast for The Corn is Green. Picture: Miles Davies

As soon as the curtain opens and you see the incredible set, you know The Corn is Green is going to be good.

Southwick Players are known for their quality sets but this one really is outstanding, filled with timber beams and a solid front door complete with thumb latch.

Louise Yeo and Ethan West in The Corn is Green for Southwick Players

Louise Yeo and Ethan West in The Corn is Green for Southwick Players

The attention to detail is impressive, including tons of books, as befitting a woman who wants to start a school.

This is Southwick Players’ entry in the Brighton and Hove Arts Council Drama Awards this year and we are treated to some of the best acting from the stalwarts, led by Louise Yeo as Miss Moffat.

She is bossy, she is determined, she is unrelenting and her enthusiasm filters through to every one of them until almost everyone is on side.

It is an impressive achievement in what is a big part, with Louise barely off the stage. The one thing she did not have to master was the Welsh, being in the part of an English woman, but those who did manage it with varying degrees of success.

Phil Nair-Brown, as John Goronwy-Jones, has the best accent and some of the younger cast members speak what sounds good Welsh. The rest are varied but to be honest it really does not matter when you have so much more to think about in this thought-provoking piece.

Miss Ronberry is such a contrast to Miss Moffat and Sharon Churchill is superb at the simpering, with the weight of her voluminous costumes almost embodying the character.

In many ways, this is a play for the women and the parts are so very different. Katie Marshall is positively terrifying as the young Bessie Watty, who sets out to entrap Miss Moffat’s prodigy out of spite, while Debbie Creissen is hilarious as her mother.

H Reeves gives us a brilliant, bumbling Squire and his drunken stumbling and mumbling is so well done, while Eden Webber takes us through a range of emotions as Morgan Evans, the young miner with an incredible gift who finally makes his way to Oxford.

Adjudicator Jane Collins described it as a wonderful production, after last night’s performance, and said she found it very moving, praising director Susanne Crosby for her approach.

The Corn is Green is at The Barn Theatre in Southwick tonight and tomorrow night at 7.30pm. Tickets £11 from 01273 597094 or southwick players.org.uk.

Those seeing the Saturday night performance are advised to get there early, as the Brighton Welsh Male Voice Choir will be performing before the show, starting at 7pm.

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