Pristine In Blue

By Neil Beardmore

A shot from the production of Pristine in Blue

Dwayne’s dad was in debt to the bank and took his own life. Now Dwayne is involved in a group demonstrating against the bank. Sabeena, his childhood sweet heart, joins him in an illegal squat and all seems on track until the arrival of Laurie, a busker friend of Dwayne’s, forcing his values and sense of justice and betrayal to be challenged. A fast moving play exploring youth confronting contemporary issues against an emotional backdrop of love and desire.

The play is written by Milton Keynes writer Neil Beardmore and directed by Rosemary Hill

Presented by The Play’s The Thing and Arts Central in association with MK Fringe.

As part of our commitment to new work and writers we aim to put on at least one production of a new play each year. We also run workshops on new plays where excerpts are performed with an invited audience to comment as part of our “Work in Progress” initiative. Plays are first read at our regular play reading meetings. “Pristine in Blue” progressed from a reading to a workshop to a full blown production. We are also happy to read screenplays, novels, short stories, comedy sketches to advise on your next steps

Pristine in Blue

This production by Neil Beardsmore and put on by The Play’s The Thing Theatre Company is on at 7:30pm each evening until Saturday at Arts Central, above the main railway station in Milton Keynes. The studio in this venue wasn’t ideal, especially in the heat. The audience were having to fan themselves with the programme sheets and the view of the stage was for many of us restricted.

That said the play itself was well worth the £8 entry. It is an examination in part of the anti-capitalist movement and how social movements operate and are policed. The other main theme is love and the nature of love and commitment. 

The way in which patriarchy plays out in left wing politics on occasions is well examined as are aspects of what it means to be of mixed heritage in contemporary society. 

The writing, as I heard somebody say on the way out, reminded them of John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and I can see why. This was the story in part of an angry young man.

The young cast of three: Sheetal Kappor, Shaun Cowlishaw and David Hemsted were excellent and were warmly applauded at the end of the show.

If you get the chance to see it I would highly recommend this show to you, but I would say take a bottle of drink in with you and a fan if you have one.

Sally Rush – MK Fringe

Pristine in Blue - A two act play by Neil Beardmore

Pristine in Blue, a play by Neil Beardmore, on at Arts Central Milton Keynes and directed and produced by Rosemary Hill, is a very good production. Neil Beardmore, a well known and proliferate painter, is also an extremely talented writer. He’s been writing plays for many years, but Pristine in Blue is a play close to his heart and he has been working on for some time. I for one will be at the front of the cue to see any future plays from his pen.

Pristine in Blue, a two act play, revolves around three people. Dwayne, Sabeena and Laurie. Dwayne is in love with Sabeena and she with him. Dwayne wants to fight big business and wants Sabeena wants to join him. Sabeena will do this if Dwayne promises his love and a better life after the big ‘peaceful’ demonstration . In comes Laurie, ostensibly to help with the demo. He sets out to seduce Sabeena and run off with her. Whether he succeeds or not, is not for me to tell. Laurie is the perfect foil for Dwayne and Sabeena. The unfolding of events is very well measured and the denouement had me fully engaged. In this morality and love torn play there is much to recommend. There is humour which got the audience laughing and revelations which had them gasping. This is a play I would see again. The three actors Sheetal Kapoor, Shaun Cowlishaw and David Hemsted gave solid, accomplished performances. Impressive.

Congratulations to the playwright Neil Beardmore, and director Rosemary Hill. A great success.

John Thynne

Pristine in Blue: Arts Central, Station House, Milton Keynes, 17-19 July 2014

In a squatted house in an unspecified English city, a young couple are in love but arguing. Dwayne is one of the instigators of a forthcoming Occupy-style demo against a bank. He is angry but determinedly peace-loving; secretly romantic but unwilling to show it; and fired for action by his father’s suicide, in which the bank played a large part. He wants his girlfriend, Sabeena, to show more commitment to the cause. She, still dealing with her own dad’s desertion, wants to talk about their relationship and for him to show commitment to that. The arrival of recently-recruited Laurie, laid-back and gently charming, seems to offer Dwayne a solid ally, and Sabeena a more appealing romantic alternative. Except that Laurie’s rather keen on violence…

This production by The Play’s The Thing, directed by Rosemary Hill, of my friend Neil Beardmore’s three-hander recently premiered at Arts Central as part of the MK International Festival Fringe. The theatre is a new studio venue for Milton Keynes, in a former office block now occupied by Arts Gateway MK, and well-equipped and arranged for this kind of new work. The play itself felt extraordinarily perceptive about the pressures and coping strategies of the upcoming generation, offering sex and politics in alternate scenes of tenderness and shock, as the psychologically flailing characters attempt to make sense of themselves and the world. The whole effect was aided by a trio of terrific performances from Shaun Cowlishaw as the intense, romantic Dwayne, David Hemsted as Laurie, outwardly wry but believing that ‘most of what’s achieved in the world is done through bloodshed’ - and Sheetal Kapoor as Sabeena, conflicted about her identity and mired in dreams of another life. It contained, finally, one of the most touching and funny scenes I’ve seen in a long time, as the two men bond over writing a love-song to her, as well as a bleak and thought-provoking finale with the police finally breaking in.

Guy Russell – Arts Gateway MK
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