A man held in a psychiatric unit believes he is the great 19th century poet John Clare. His psychiatrist delves into the history of the visionary ‘peasant poet’ whilst her partner clings to his own version of the Clare legend. Lime-burner, labourer, womaniser, eco-warrior, walker, depressive.
We think we know all about John Clare – ‘innocent poet’ sent to the asylum by the ‘evil Skrimshire’. On one hand he was one our most loved pastoral poets, chronicler of change and recorder of nature, an eco-warrior for his time, railing against the enclosure land grabbers. But we also see him as a man robbed of his birthright, the patsy of publishers and professionals and a lunatic unfairly locked up for his visions.
Clare is remembered for his life more than his poetry with his experiences increasingly used as a yardstick for our own issues. But, in Tony Ramsay’s highly acclaimed play, a new John Clare emerges, set free from the story of his life.
“When Richard Sandells speaks the lines – I am, yet what I am none cares or knows . . you catch your breath.” The Times ****
“This show is gripping, intelligent, and acted with verve by Henry Devas, Louise Mai Newberry and Richard Sandells. The East of England would be a far poorer place theatrically without the indispensable Eastern Angles.” The Guardian
“Director Ivan Cutting gives his three players space to flesh out their multiple roles….Richard Sandells is immensely moving” What’s On Stage, Four Stars