The Turnip Field

5 Stars

It’s ten to three. We are in rural Ireland. Joe is waiting for someone. His older brother John wants him to come inside. 

Shrouded in folklore, the bond of brotherhood & the happiest of memories, The Turnip Field is a hilarious & poignant tale of two men, looking back, re-living and waiting. 

The first show of 2021 written and produced post lock-down by Set in Stone Theatre Company is a two-hander with a static set that provides everything in the clever staging and beautiful storytelling that we have missed, and that you can only experience as live theatre. 

Writers Catherine O’Reilly & Tim Churchill did not underestimate her audience, who are allowed to come to their own conclusions before the penny finally drops.  With heart-warming moments as well as quick witted comedy in abundance, the secrets in the story line are revealed subtly and artfully.

Both Joe (Josh Capper) and John (Sean Jones) were bundles of energy, who bounded on to the stage and continued to impress non-stop for the entire 90 minutes. Their portrayals were a masterclass in character, and the dialogue flowed effortlessly between them – never missing a beat. 

Small interludes of choreographed sequences set to beautiful music written and directed by Jeremy Wootton were cleverly woven in to the fabric of the piece. These interludes did not feel forced or out of place, but were rather subtle hints at moving to a new point in time, or a new memory or thought. 

A particular highlight is a seemingly improvised, spontaneous a capella rendition of the popular Irish tune “I’ll Tell Me Ma”. 

Despite the action never leaving The Turnip Field, we were transported to different times and locations through the subtle use of a prop, reference or a part of the scenery that allowed Joe and John to reminisce on the people they had once known (or had just made up!). 

Expertly directed by Tim Churchill, each swift action that provided a brief glimpse of a different character was brilliantly executed by the two seasoned professionals. They jumped in and out of accents and personas at the drop of a hat, also allowing for a shift in tone and for a range of voices to populate the stage. 

In a world where banshees, the world’s strongest priest, ghosts and gossiping old ladies co-exist side by side, there is a rich mythical undercurrent bubbling away throughout the piece that seeps out in to the storyline. 

Stories stay with us from childhood to adulthood. We might add our own details, misremember, or forget we had told them in the first place – but those memories inform and shape our experiences and how we navigate through life. 

Someday we will all enter our own Turnip Field, but for now, the Turnip Field plays the Turbine Theatre, London from 2nd-5th June 2021. To book tickets, click here…

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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