Rutherford and Son Review


This play was written by Githa Sowerby and was based about the
lives of women in the early 20 th century, and was the result of her
family’s involvement in the local glass factory.
The play was performed in the Lyttelton Theatre at the National, an
open spacious theatre, on entering you are immediately drawn to
the sound of rain and the eerie and haunting sounds of the singers in
the background reflecting the times the play was written, the sounds
transports you back to the early 20 th century and the music
immediately reminds you of the hardship many people had to
endure, this without a word being spoken.
As this was the last night the theatre was nearly full which is not
surprising considering the talent that was about to enter the stage.
Ten minutes before the paly started you had the sight of Mary
played by Anjana Vasan walking around the set carrying a baby, I
have never seen this done before and something I understand it
becoming more popular (pre set) this engages the audience before a
word is even spoken.


The audience is mixed in terms of age but is aimed more to the
over fifties perhaps reflecting the plays historical appeal.
The show has your archetypical northern Aunt in the form of Ann,
played excellently by Barbara Marten who tries to hold the family
together and the traditions of the Rutherford business, the show
centres around the character of John Rutherford, played by the
impeccable Roger Allam who rules the household with a rod of iron.
Rutherford’s children struggle with the way their fathers rules.

There is no love just oppression and the constant reinforcement to make sure the Rutherford Name is held in the very highest esteem
within the community.

Conflict arises when Rutherford’s eldest son (John Jnr) comes up with
a ground-breaking formula that will transform the glass industry,
John Jnr has entrusted his formula to Rutherford lieutenant Martin,
played by Joe Armstrong. This is where the plot starts…

You argue that the portrayal of John Rutherford by Roger Allan
could have been a bit more powerful in rhetorical terms but I would
disagree, you have the feeling that Rutherford is a product of the
times and that he would like to be more human but his upbringing
has led him to be the person he is.


This play is an excellent illustration of the power held by factory
owners in the late ninetieth and early 20th century.
Rutherford and son is a brilliant play, with superb casting and direction, you are in safe hands watching this!

Thanks for reading! Have you seen Rutherford and Son? Feel free to comment below!

Martin

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