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Brighton Fringe 2014

‘Bud’ by Nick Darke

The Tell Theatre Company

Genre: Drama

Venue: The Burrow At The Warren


Low Down

A 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.



This one man play was performed in Brighton Fringe Venue – The Burrow, a 19th century Vestry with enormous stone hearth. This suited the piece well as the it is set in the Cornish countryside in the 1980’s, a time when people were still living simple lives close to the land. Bud is the farmer who marries a woman with arthritus ten years his senior, a woman who owns land!

The story unfolds like one of those old, dark, rural mysteries as Bud takes on the characters that enter into the small world of his farmhouse kitchen. The audience enjoy meeting his darkly powerful wife, the lady of the manor and the recluse living in a shed in the woods. Bud’s story encompasses ley lines, land ownership and four legged chickens. The language is recognisably English but with the added flavour of a Cornish lilt and is sometimes eloquent and sometimes simple and hard. Neil Sheffield playing Bud handles the language and the part well using simple gestures to effectively portray the different characters and he keeps the audience in the grip of his grubby hands as he shares his story. Bud is by Nick Darke who wrote 24 plays which are all mostly set in Cornwall where he grew up the son of a farmer. So he knows the lay of the land of this play very well. In this play he explores the subject of how land ownership and inheritance can affect relationships and families.

Bud is directed by Pennie Cliff who does well to keep it simple yet full of atmosphere and John Browne’s music perfectly echoes and enhances the dark tale and helps carry the eerie story to its final twist. 


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