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Indy Lifestyle Online
The sound of nails scratching on blackboards is sometimes more agreeable than listening to British actors putting on American accents badly (and vice versa). Sometimes you get one or two genuinely American actors in a cast of Brits and the effect is devastating. You find yourself wishing they'd just changed all references to mid-west motels to Granada service stations, relocated from prairie to Dartmoor and left it at that.

Nomad Theatre was set up by Canadian actor Margot Steinberg, to introduce the wealth of new playwriting coming out of the US to British audiences using authentically non-British actors. Its second production is Erin Cressida Wilson's Dakota's Belly, Wyoming (starring Hoyt Miller, right), at the New Grove from tonight.

'It's not so much a question of accent, but of intonation and rhythms of speech which gives a flavour and a character to the words,' says Steinberg, who plays Trixie, sister-in-law to the eponymous Dakota. She and Cressida Wilson agree that there is no need to adapt the play for a British audience. 'We changed a few slang words that even I didn't understand,' she says. 'But the theme of the play is universal, about relationships and family, and that doesn't need to be translated.'

Paradoxically it's the writing's ability to evoke specific details of the characters, their pasts, their tastes and the places in which they live that endows the play with a universal feel. The landscape itself is an important player in the drama. Cressida Wilson's characters speak of hot, dry wind, a bottle rolling, immense spaces. And that's definitely not Dartmoor.

'Dakota's Belly, Wyoming' at the New Grove to 30 Jul (071-383 0925).

See Beyond the West End, Central

(Photograph omitted)

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