Theatre review: Roots - 'A meticulous and beautifully acted revival'

Roots, the central work in Arnold Wesker's 1950s trilogy, refuses to be rushed and keeps you waiting two and half hours for a turning-point. But the cumulative power of the piece is quietly devastating, as is decisively demonstrated now by this loving, meticulous and beautifully acted revival by James Macdonald. Written in the Norfolk dialect, the play tells the story of a young woman, Beatie Bryant, who returns to her glum family of farm labourers and tries to groom them for the impending visit of her “intellectual” London boyfriend Ronnie (the East End Jewish poet of Chicken Soup With Barley). She browbeats them with Ronnie's thoughts about art and politics by repeating them parrot-fashion and only finds her own voice in a climactic surge after a calamity the  audience may have started to anticipate.

Edinburgh 2013: Dark Vanilla Jungle - Philip Ridley's latest

One of these days, pigs might fly and Philip Ridley will write a play full of joy, laughter and sparkling merriment. Meanwhile, he follows the dark and murky byways of lives that have gone lyrically wrong in language that lacerates any vestigial sense of well-being and “all’s right with the world” in an audience.

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