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An Englishman's Home

Written and performed by Richard Vergette
Part of the 24:7 Theatre Festival
Pure: Blue, Manchester
(2007)

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Roger Beaumont sits in his ancestral home, where Charles I is reputed to have once stayed, in the middle of huge areas of farmland that has been neglected for years and tells his story of how he went to prison for shooting an intruder.

No doubt it is no coincidence that the play has a lot of very strong parallels with the real-life story of Norfolk farmer Tony Martin, who went to prison for shooting dead a teenage burglar when he was trying to escape from his house in 1999. However writer Richard Vergette has fleshed out the bare bones of the real case into something that stands up on its own terms, with some nice little twists and additions that were never in the original case.

Where this could easily be turned into an argument for or against the sort of action taken by Tony Martin, Roger Beaumont is not interested in such arguments and instead reserves his attacks for the popular press which holds him up as a hero and then, when he reveals a few more details, condemns him as being the tabloids' biggest type of bogeyman of the moment. He is also amazed and disgusted that he is asked to advise or support politicians or causes when he does not believe he has any knowledge of the issues and is merely an unwilling celebrity.

This is a very well-constructed piece of drama, elegantly written and given a compelling performance by its writer, Richard Vergette.

Reviewer: David Chadderton