Forceful writing the key to a great performance

Sam Buist, manager and Sofie Fowler, front of house manager of Project Korova outside the coffee shop on St Wilfrid Street
Sam Buist, manager and Sofie Fowler, front of house manager of Project Korova outside the coffee shop on St Wilfrid Street
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In a Land Much Like Ours

Korova Café Bar, Preston

A domestic drama is ideally suited to the dark confines of the upstairs theatre at Preston’s newest performance space.

The audience are so close to the cast for In a Land Much Like Ours that it would be possible to pass them a handkerchief - for their tears - without even leaving your seat!

The grief is tangible and intimacy and immediacy are easily achieved in such a suitable setting.

Jane (Laura Lindsay) and David (Andrew Roberts-Palmer) are mourning the killing of their daughter, but coping with its aftermath in very different, and probably gender-stereotypical ways.

In the midst of all their grief however is a third 
character – Richard (Adam Urey) the child’s killer, a 
disembodied being with whom Jane ‘converses’ while David attempts a more 
detached analysis of the man’s motives.

It is an intense and 
complex piece of theatre, that sometimes feels a little too hemmed-in, not least by its studio setting, and 
certainly by its 60-minute running time.

A little more time is 
needed to understand 
character motivation, or to absorb the folk legend of Jack the Giant Killer that is 
cleverly threaded through the 
narrative.

Writer Rob Johnston – whose Einstein’s Daughter was performed at the 
Continental in Preston last year – again demonstrates a skilful ability to construct 
instantly-plausible 
characters and give them 
humane and articulate life.

The performances are equally measured, especially that of Lindsay, harbouring the brittle grief of a mother.

Director Sam Buist manages it all with distinction, 
particularly as he has launched this Korova venue, and the forthcoming Preston Tringe theatre festival, all at the same time.

A minimal amount of props, which suggest 
children’s over-sized building bricks, juxtaposed with actual infant toys, play with the 
story’s sense of scale and prove its author has the ability to 
up-size such forceful writing.

David Upton