Words: Elodie Marriott
Written by playwright Ed Edwards, England & Son is a devastating one-man show that considers abuse, social policies, growing up working-class, and the impact of war and colonialism. Mark Thomas plays a child who is entranced by his father’s war stories and wants only one thing: to please him enough to get his hair ruffled. But as he grows up, he realises the image of his dad as an ‘English gentleman’ is far from the truth.
Projecting his lines with such gusto, Thomas seems to believe his audience isn’t only those in the venue, but those outside it. The rhythm of his delivery has skilful variation, his lines cramming together closer and faster in moments of tension. Even more impressive is that not a word was missed throughout the hour-long performance.
Thomas appeals for sympathy, reaching out and addressing individuals directly, as he recounts his character’s struggle to escape the life of crime that society expects of him. While we watch every mistake and hope against disaster, England & Son clearly expresses how hard it is to change a fate that has been heavily influenced by the past and politics.
England & Son
Roundabout @ Summerhall
13-14, 16-18, 20-21, 23-27 Aug