Eastern Angles Theatre Company are known for productions which are on the unique side of theatre which is fabulous as we need the arts to push boundaries.
Their latest touring production is ‘Booming Voices’ created from a collection of interviews with people living on the Norfolk Broads which captures the magic of this landscape.
Fused with the storyline about Jen, a young student during lockdown, who is shielding in an isolated cottage on the edge of a watery haven, housesitting for a Professor in the US who is investigating the impact of climate change. Together they explore the iconic wildlife and nature of the Broads, showing us just how vulnerable this seemingly timeless landscape is.
In between elements of Jen’s story, we hear the voices from real people who have lived, breathed and enjoyed the broads which makes it so authentic. We learn about the history of the Broads and discover the industry created from the peat digging and how this partly man-made landscape became a wetland when the pits were no longer used. We learn about the marshmen who cut the reed for thatching and how machinery not only changed industry but also made an impact on the landscape. Then we move to how the holiday industry came and went with cheap flights entering the domain and how livelihoods were changed, if not ended.
With this history we get a better understanding of how the Broads have developed and changed over time and this is all interesting in itself and the production brings in science into the play to deepen our knowledge of how all these changes in industry and climate are making an impact. We learn about the bittern and it was found to be extinct in the UK in the 1870s but now due to restoration and conservation efforts there are now over 200 birds. We learn about the swallowtail butterfly, which is extremely rare and only found on the Broads as it only lays its eggs on one plant, which unfortunately is also very rare.
This blend of science and history gets you thinking about the impact of change, whether change is good or bad isn’t necessarily the question, it’s that change is constant, change will happen and it’s about adapting to this change in a positive way which is important. Change can’t be stopped.
Although the play seems educational, which it is, it also has the story of Jen and we see how she grows and adapts during her time in lockdown, it is also light-hearted as there are folk songs and musical elements throughout the performance, and a few funny moments.
Only four actors playing all the parts and they do the Broads voices proud as they come across as warm, passionate and genuine when speaking about this wonderful landscape. Booming Voices is playing at the Sir John Mills Theatre and then will be on tour in the region, there is also an online performance. Check the website for more information.
This review appeared on GrapevineLIVE