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Markings at Southwark Playhouse

Elizabeth Peasley

This new play by playwright Dominic Francis presented by Attic Theatre Company is a poignant and fine portrayal of the strong yet tormented and tenuous relationships that characterise one family from wartime 1940s to present day.

Three generations walk and weave their emotions against the backcloth of the sands of Morecombe Bay. (You can hear the seagulls over this simply and cleverly designed shore line.)

Young newly weds Cecil and Beattie start their married life in the early '40s. Cecil ( played by Dean Ashton) meeting people from different backgrounds in the RAF, has his head and heart set on a future of books and study after the war.
The insightful and resourceful Beattie (played by Ruth Gibson) sets about creating a comfortable and stimulating home environment, ever ready to listen, love and understand.

Sixty years later, their spirited daughter Annie (played by Jenny Lee) is grappling to understand her own troubled 25 year old son, Edward (played by Simon Muller) in the immediate aftermath of her mother's death. Edward – ‘you always had a vivid imagination – you slept with the light on until you were ten‘ is entranced with the recently discovered journal kept by Cecil his grandfather.

The journal features as a significant ‘marking' within the play. As Edward reads his grandfather's poetry he begins to find an understanding of his own difficulties. Edward has the same eyes as Cecil, his mother remarks, a signal of the link between the two of them, the reality of which is gradually unwrapped and understood by the end of the play.

The dialogue is authentic and at times witty; the four actors create characters who are sympathetic and who skillfully lead you into the emotional suspense and challenge of their lives- you believe in them all and wish them all well.

After some moments of bitter emotional distress the play ends on an optimistic note which should bring a smile not just for Annie and Edward as they look to the future but for all who choose to believe that love triumphs over pain.

Highly recommended.

• Markings continues Monday to Saturday at Southwark Playhouse until Saturday 20 March; After show discussion on Wednesday 17 March; matinée at 3pm on Saturday 20 March.

• T 0207620 3494.

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