The newest show to grace the boards at Finsbury Park’s cutely bourgeois Park Theatre is Time and Tide. It’s a self-professed “LGBT comic drama” but, refreshingly, the characters’ personalities, and the simple concepts of love and longing, shine brighter than issues around their sexualities.
Well-meaning and slightly dishevelled May runs a greasy spoon at the end of Cromer Pier. She’s stressed about gentrification and unrequited love (aren’t we all) and also endlessly but affectionately berates her young employee Nemo, a dramatic and angsty gay teen who can’t wait to flee to the bright lights of London for uni.
Her delivery man Ken is ALSO worried about gentrification and unrequited love – in fact, you could say this is a play about gentrification and unrequited love – and blusters in every so often with baskets of bread, trying to pluck up the courage to ask May out.
Lastly we meet can-cracking geezer Daz, who slouches around and fixes microwaves among unexpected flashes of passion and anger. He’s secretly in love with Nemo, who’s also his best mate.
Charmingly written by James McDermott and energetically acted, with its warm tone and gently liberal subject matter, it plays like a cosy BBC drama. The gentrification jokes are a little overused (we get it, Pret’s a thing!) but otherwise the writing is timely and hilarious. We want “Noise, boys, bars and regular buses” to be QX’s new tagline and some of Daz’s swaggering, outrageously laddish lines are particularly side-splitting and viscerally realistic – we’ve all met a Daz.
The cast navigates the play’s energetic story with uninhibited abandon. Wendy Nottingham is emotive and caring as May, Paul Easom entertainingly bumbling as delivery man Ken – the most entrancing performances though, come from the boys; Josh Barrow as Nemo and particularly Elliot Liburd as Daz. In their various arguments, tantrums and clumsy throes of passion, they bring unexpected intensity and drama to an otherwise fairly fluffy atmosphere.
Time and Tide will resonate with anyone who’s experienced the tribulations and frustrations of being a young person (queer or otherwise) in a small town. It’s a sweet, well-meaning and instantly likeable play, perfect for blowing away the winter blues.