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Sunny Sundays at Primrose Hall by Jill Steeples #Review

  I am delighted to be on the tour to celebrate a return to Primrose Hall. Sunny Sundays at Primrose Hall by Jill Steeple was published by Boldwood Books on April 15th.   Primrose Hall is more than Jackson Moody and his fiancĂ©e Pia’s home – it’s the heart of the community. The Sunday craft fairs in the renovated stables are a popular draw for the locals and tourists alike, enticed by the beautiful surroundings of Primrose Woods as well as the irresistible goodies on display. But for Sophie Wright they’re a chance to forge a new life and a new business. After leaving behind a turbulent relationship, Sophie is starting again – and romance is the last thing on her mind. Drop dead gorgeous Tom Moody, Lord of the Manor Jackson’s newly-discovered older brother, is loving being a member of the Primrose Hall community. Content to muck in where he can be helpful, he’s just happy to be part of the family. But when tragedy strikes, Pia needs Tom more than he ever expected. And when Tom ne

Play: Pomona by Alistair McDowell

Play: Pomona by Alistair McDowell

Performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and directed by Ned Bennett

Pomona is a bleak and uncompromising look at life. It is a dystopian thriller set in the inhospitable  landscape of Pomona: an empty strip of wasteland which lies between Salford and Manchester. It is a black hole at the centre of the city.  The play centres on the search for lost people, who have disappeared or lost themselves, somewhere in the city. Pomona seems to be an area which is ignored no matter how unsavoury the events there might be.

The staging is as bleak as the story, with a metal grid at its centre. The action takes place in a series of staccato scenes, punctuated with blackness. They seem harsh and unconnected. The effect on the viewer is unsettling and jarring, like the story. There are numerous time lapses in the course of the action. My thought at the end of the play was that the narrative had been like a double helix, twisting from past to present and back again. As the M60 circled the city so the story line seemed to run on without a conclusion, looping back onto itself.

Throughout the play, some characters are playing a role playing game. It is difficult to know what is real and what is just part of the game. It is unclear whether the whole play is in fact one huge game.  Open to interpretation, it strikes one that each viewer will see a different play. Some may take it at face value that there are two twin sisters who are searching for each other, as I did. Others may think that there is only one girl.

In short: a unsettling  play which journeys to a vacuum at the centre of everyday life where unspeakable deeds are ignored  and disregarded.


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