'Bud' by Nick Darke

Bud by Nick Darke is a one-man show that was originally written for the RSC and performed in 1985. The writing is slick, Neil Sheffield’s performance is engaging and the play fits well in the beautiful Burrow at The Warren.

The direction is slick and utilises the space well; setting the scene of the large Cornish farm kitchen in front of the ancient fireplace and using the grandeur of the Burrow to its advantage.

Bud’s dark and at times mildly comedic monologue ponders the difficulties of relationships and examines age difference, class and ownership. Having married an older woman, Myrna, who owns the Cornish farm where the play is set, Bud is harangued with doubts that she and everyone else think that he only married her for her land. It was unclear in which era the story was meant to be set; were we in 1985 or in the mid-1800’s with a dark brooding Heathcliff-type, where ownership of land makes a difference?

Sheffield portrays various characters throughout the piece; his wife, a local wealthy lady, and a pot smoking hippy who builds a shed on Myrna’s land. The direction is slick and utilises the space well; setting the scene of the large Cornish farm kitchen in front of the ancient fireplace and using the grandeur of the Burrow to its advantage.

Although clearly a talented performance, I wondered why this play had been chosen. I’m not sure that it speaks to a contemporary audience and I did not engage with the character of Bud. I left feeling underwhelmed and thinking that Sheffield could have chosen a more striking vehicle to show off his talents.

Reviews by Lou Rogers

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A rare, brilliant dark comedy following a farmer’s reflections on his twenty years of marriage, that painfully reveals shocking revelations. A ferocious tour-de-force performance of this wonderfully written one-man show. “A superb one-man play starring the stunning Neil Sheffield that both scares and endears. The atmosphere that Sheffield creates is superb; there is a constant tension between hatred, jealousy and humour. A moving and unmissable theatrical experience.” (The Stage).