From Anna McCracken, Volunteer Manager
Last Thursday, our Merseyside based volunteers enjoyed a trip out to the Playhouse Theatre in Liverpool to see the play Rutherford and Son, a Northern Broadsides production, edited by patron of The Reader Organisation Blake Morrison.
With excellent hospitality from the Playhouse and a wonderful performance, it was a great chance to thank our brilliant volunteers who give so much time and energy to their roles in admin, assisting in groups, and reading with older people as part of our Big Lottery volunteer project.
Anthony Boardman, a Get Into Reading group member and volunteer, emailed the volunteer team afterwards with this excellent review of the play – we thought we’d share it with you here on The Reader Online:
Firstly I thought from the start the traditional nature of the play, and the introduction to the issues raised through the play were excellent! They confronted issues that may seem alien to some people, but in reality aren’t really that uncommon. Money for instance plays a vital role in our ability to survive in these harsh times, not only being able to food on our plates, but to give us a sense of importance and belonging we all crave.
The play was originally wrote by Githa Sowerby in 1912 (who came from the North East) and was later edited by Blake Morrison for the purpose of the play. He stated that though Githa Sowerby was interested in creating a setting recognizable throughout the industrial north, she did not use real place names except in a solitary reference to the Tyne. He also stated that she was able to reflect the dialect of the working-class without making the language inaccessible to the modern audience or appear stereotypical of the time.
The characterisations were acted and portrayed excellently both in context and in emotion. I loved the intensity of the performances and thought that the elderly widowed mother of the worker who stole from Mr Rutherford was my favourite character, but that doesn’t mean I thought the other characters weren’t portrayed properly, they were equally as driven and passionately about their retrospective roles.
My Favourite Characterisations through the play, and my opinions on them!
Rutherford: a man who epitomises a traditional man with traditional beliefs, whose only motivation is solely driven on maintaining the respect and foundations of the Rutherford name. He’s a hard working man who probably believed he was doing what was best for his family; after all was saying that all his hard work was to secure a future for his son.
Rutherford’s Son: a man driven to succeed without the aid of his father, determined but a little naïve. He ‘s like most young lads with ideas about life and how he wants to be treated, but in the end it’s his naivety and lack of understanding that ultimately costs him his family, and his inheritance.
Rutherford’s Son wife: Wow, what a cunning intelligent and dramatic character. She only reveals her true personality right at the end of the play…
Although I’ve only mentioned a couple of the characters in the play you can already see just how much I loved it. Thanks for a wonderful afternoon!