REVIEW: Rural poverty pointed up in Twelve Miles From Nowhere

A medley of countryside sound effects greeted the audience as they entered the Pomegranate on Tuesday evening.

A set made up of a few planks and boxes and random bits of junk shop furniture portrayed the remote, run-down farm which was the background for Twelve Miles From Nowhere, the second of five live productions at the theatre this week.

The farm was operated by a father and teenage son and daughter, in this depiction of rural poverty and the challenges and stumbling blocks faced by families struggling to maintain a traditional way of life.

Barry Hall was James, the domineering father harbouring a grim, life-changing secret, growing ever more reliant on alcohol and prone to losing his rag with his reluctant offspring.

They were Michael (Danny Childs) whoSE ambitions for the farm outstripped his skills, and Emily (Ashleigh Cordery), whose intelligence, imagination and aspirations reached far beyond feeding the animals and cooking, cleaning and laundering for the men.

Into this not-so-cosy environment came Craig, capable and experienced, and clearly with an agenda of his own. His feet were soon firmly under the table, but he reckoned without the clear-sighted teenagers.

There was a lot of drama, not a few dark undertones, and occasional flashes of humour. It was a long way from light entertainment, but neither is the bleak way of life it presented.

LYNNE PATRICK