Stuck behind a broken down freight train late on Thursday night ( a fate which is even worse than the dreaded rail replacement bus) I found myself writing about I heart Peterborough, Joel Horwood’s Edinburgh bound play for Eastern Angles which we’ve just previewed tonight. –
I’ve just come out of the first preview of I heart Peterborough before it heads to Edinburgh next week. I’m struggling for words to describe it. Be under no illusion this is not an easy show. Though it has its moments of quirky humour it’s about as far away from your sixty five minute gag fest which Edinburgh usually expects. Rather it’s a work that draws you in a strange, curious way then grabs you by the neck, shakes you around and leaves you wanting more.
At the heart of the show is Joel Horwood’s brutal prose poetry. One of the audience members I spoke to likened it to Dylan Thomas and there is that element too it – but also throw in Gil Scott Heron, Larkin and maybe a bit of Tony Harrison too and perhaps you’d get close. As his characters’ slub clump’ around the stage you are lured into a false sense of security before the action punches you in the solar plexis.
Milo Twomey’s Lulu dominates, father to the rather bewildered but ferociously talented Huw (touchingly played by Jay Taylor). Lulu grows to love the son he never wanted (and struggles to understand) with a tender and touching protectiveness. Together the pair exist in a womb like, isolated island which is only broken by Lulu’s transformation. Dressed in false boobs, a wig and a long slinky number Lulu believes she can conquer everything – karaoke, night life even the love of her life.
Ultimately this is a story of two misfits in a gossipy small town, which though set in Peterborough, could in fact be anywhere. At the end – as they reach once again for their comfort routines you desperately want the pair to to survive, to be safe but Horwood leaves us with the nagging doubt its unlikely to be so. It’s a harsh reflection on a society which expects everything – and everyone – to be just so.
Powerful, demanding but totally rewarding . I loved it.
You can find out more about the process which led to this preview on the Eastern Angles blog page here