Time and Tide at the Park Theatre: Press night review by Stephen Vowles 

‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’ and James McDermott’s play Time and Tide, set in a crumbling caff at the end of Cromer Pier, captures beautifully a moment in a present day seaside town that some people want to escape from, some people want to cherish and some people are happy just to plod along with.

This is a well written piece showing McDermott’s skill as he constructs dialogue that has his characters part listening to what someone else is telling them and at the same time having their own conversation on a completely different subject matter – adding to the magic of his script. 

He deals with life’s insecurities and recriminations superbly through the cast of Wendy Nottingham as May the owner of the cafe which is up for sale, Paul Easom as Ken, her bread delivery man losing business to Costa and Starbucks – whose droll performance is a star turn – Josh Barrow as Nemo who dreams and desires to be an actor and get to London to fulfil those dreams despite his innocence and naivety, and lastly Elliot Liburd as Daz, the local boy, whose stage presence broods with an energy that is quite hypnotic. 

This is a story about pals’ acceptance, fitting in, dreaming of better things and actually not having any regrets despite what life has thrown at you.

Rob Ellis’s quaint and emotional direction works as he clearly evokes a feeling of pure comedy versus melancholia with a slight tinge of possible tragedy as Daz has to come to terms with Nemo leaving Cromer – and more importantly leaving him behind. 

This is also a play about traditional values and that denial can be a painful pill to swallow but if realisation of how you want to live your life happens to you, then relish in that fact. Young lust, confusion blended with passion are played out magnificently by Barrow and Liburd and as the tension inevitably builds between them, acting honours to them both.

Time and Tide is a very amusing look at the need to be loved on all levels, straight, gay and lesbian whilst trying to conform to society; and that friendship is imperative as a means for survival, particularly on an emotional level. Well worth a watch; a splendid ensemble piece.

Photos: Gail Harland


Time and Tide runs to Saturday 29th February at the Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP. Box office: 020 7870 6876 park

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