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'Lovely on the ear, a play with breadth and depth'
Booby’s Bay is about the displacement of the Cornish people due to excessive tourism. Billed as a play about the housing crisis, it quickly turns into a play about language and the gulf between our separate understanding of each word. The play has resonances of Brian Friel’s Translations in which enmity between cultures partially stems from these differences
The story centres around Huck, a maverick campaigner who is fiercely sticking to his principals by barricading himself into his old family home, while local people sell out to tourism. Local man Daz is the antithesis of everything that Huck believes in, as he drives himself to conquer the waves on his surf board for the regional finals. The antipathy between them is the catalyst for revealing the underlying thoughts and feelings, which drives the story forward.
There is much depth to the play, which could be presented in many different ways and mediums. Set in Cornwall with the sumptuous local dialect to please the ear, it a play which would do just as well on radio. It is also a drama with breadth, moving from the interior of a house, to the expanse of a seascape, to a tiny barricade. It would equally suit the massive stage of the Bolshoi, or the open air Minach theatre in Penzance, and works perfectly well in the Finborough.
One of the stand-out performance of the night came from Florence Roberts as Jeanie who has a complicated girlfriend-boyfriend relationship with both Huck and Daz. She also plays a second role as party-girl Cassandra, breathing life into both characters; very fine performances. A mention also to Esther Coles playing the role of Huck’s bright mother, (and fearless entrepreneur) Liz. She has particularly wonderful lines in the last scene, giving backstory and describing her intimate knowledge of Cornwall, before the tourist explosion. Whilst lovely on the ear, it is painfully wistful.
Hopefully, we will be seeing more of Henry Darke’s writing, and that Booby’s Bay will have a long life. Highly recommended.
Formerly playwright and Artistic Director of Changing Spaces Theatre. Her credits include productions at Drayton Arms Theatre (Kensington), Old Red Lion Theatre (Islington), VAULT festival (Waterloo), St Paul’s Church (Covent Garden), Cockpit Theatre (Marylebone) and Midlands Arts Centre (Birmingham)