Reviewed by Donald Madgwick for The Croydon Advertiser
Last year Robin Hood, this year Lark Rise. Theatre Workshop’s open air productions at the Woodman, Woodmansterne, are already becoming assimilated into our local dramatic calendar.
Long may it continue, for on both occasions I have enjoyed the winning combination of benign weather and agreeable entertainment in ideal surroundings.
Lark Rise is adapted by Keith Dewhurst from Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise and Candleford trilogy, and if your taste is for the loving re-creation of a village our modern world has banished to the mists of time, the Woodman is your destination.
Here you will find the slow seasonal rhythms of life in an isolated Oxfordshire farming community in the 1880s. Men banter in the field, women gossip on the green.
Village idiot, ancient sage and itinerant salesman are set in a way of life unchanged since the Middle Ages.
Richard Lloyd’s production brings the community vividly to life. I was completely won over by the entrancing dialect speaking, not only from the Timms family on whom the play is centred (Bruce Montgomery and Lisa Lloyd as the parents, Sinead Russell and John Bird as the children) but from the whole company.
The Royal Borough Band, under Dave Hankey, contributes enormously to the bucolic spirit of the occasion.
The male villagers act as a kind of chorus of the good earth, with Tim Young a rascally paterfamilias as sly Old David and John Haithwaite’s Boamer speaking for a younger generation.
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