Snapshot of idyllic life from times past

DRINK UP: John Hester, Sarah Wynne Kordas and Dominic Vulliamy in Cider with Rosie at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield
DRINK UP: John Hester, Sarah Wynne Kordas and Dominic Vulliamy in Cider with Rosie at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield

IT’S amazing what can be achieved with half a dozen chairs, nine actors, a platform and some imaginative light and sound.

At the Pomegranate this week Rumpus Theatre Company recreate an era long gone and a whole way of life using these simple ingredients and very little else.

The play is Cider With Rosie, adapted from Laurie Lee’s much-loved memoir of an idyllic rural childhood dating back nearly a hundred years.

The chairs become the family kitchen, schoolroom, pub, church hall and at one point the charabanc for outings.

The actors are the people of the Cotswold village: Laurie’s large family, schoolmates and teachers, neighbours and friends. John Hester is the older Laurie, observing and remembering; Dominic Vulliamy plays his younger self from toddler to adolescent; Karen Henson is his feckless, generous-spirited mother.

Everyone else plays – everyone else. Sarah Wynne Kordas, Susie Hawthorne, Susan Earnshaw, Jeremy Lloyd Thomas, Al Naed and Chris Sheridan show their versatility and add vibrant local colour: young and old, rich and poor, loved and loathed, all of village life is there, in an almost forgotten world of traditional rhymes, fecund gardens, home-made wine and sunshine. And love.

There are dark moments and sad ones too, but, well, that’s life for you. Mostly this is a play to touch your heart and bring some warmth into the gloomiest month of the year.

It runs till Saturday as part of the Pomegranate’s repertory season, which continues for three more weeks.