REVIEW: My Country at Cambridge Arts Theatre (June 15)

Penny Layden as Britania and Christian Patterson as Cymru in My Country

Penny Layden as Britania and Christian Patterson as Cymru in My Country - Credit: Archant

Poignant, powerful and a perfect depiction of the Brexit debate and referendum Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘My Country’ is a truly inspirational piece of political drama.

Told through the voices of real people from the length and breadth of Britain from Derry Londonderry to Leicester, Scotland, the North East, Wales and the South West every possible opinion on the issue was portrayed in the 80 minute non-stop play.

Britannia (Penny Layden) representing the nation, listens to all sides of the argument and presenting - in their own words - the views of the politicians from David Cameron to Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage and Theresa May. Hers was a truly powerful and thought provoking performance.

The show’s programme makes an interesting read - it’s not your usual here are the stars and a precis of what you’re about to watch - no it is an analyse of the research that Duffy carried out on a tour of Britain talking to real people about Brexit.

The areas represented at the gathering called by Britannia either had a strong remain or a strong leave vote. The voices we hear through the actors give opinions and arguments we all heard on a daily basis in the run-up to last June’s referendum.

Duffy makes no judgement on the vote in the play’s dialogue - although she does leave you, through Britannia, with the words of murdered MP Jo Cox ringing in your ears: “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

As the arguments go back and forth between the voices, the divisions within our nation are clear. The old rivalry between the Scots and the English, Northern Ireland feeling isolated, the North East neglected and the South West relaxed and comfortable are all there on the stage.

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But just as it looks as if there is going to be a permanent breach between them all Britannia rallies them together and making the point that what divides us makes us stronger, and as a nation we have much to celebrate - our diversity, our power to overcome adversity and our ingenuity.

Whatever your view on Brexit, this play will leave you re-evaluating and thinking again about the whole issue - you may not change your mind, but you will certainly feel challenged.

‘My Country’ is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until tomorrow evening - tickets priced: £18/£23/£28/£33 are available from the box office on: 01223 503333 .

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