Theatre Review: Every Time a Bell Rings at Rowntree Park

So here I am sitting in a circle painted on the grass, around me a dozen or more circles with the audience organizing chairs, blankets, flasks and headphones ready for the first live performance I have been part of since March.

By Angie Millard

Cathy, played by Lisa Howard, wanders in and sits on her favourite bench. She has come out of lockdown and it is Easter Sunday. Her monologue is a simple retelling of her life and we are drawn into her story. It is not histrionic or very extraordinary; told in a matter of fact way which masks her emotion and as such is all the more effective. She is pragmatic and a survivor.

The one esoteric thought she voices is that when her first love died she heard a bell, a reference to his favourite film: It’s a Wonderful World. The quotation from that: ‘everytime a bell rings an angel gets its wings’ gives the play its title and a sad post script.

Her message is simply that we are all living through an extraordinary period of history and we should learn from it. It gave me pause for thought and made me wonder what will come of this experience.  Will we return to normal?

Shall we be able to drift back into our lives as the NHS rainbows fade on windows?

It was chilly and windy last night but I was so glad that I went along and, as Lisa Howard said: ‘[It’s] good to be part of something so groundbreaking’.

Every Time a Bell Rings is by Matt Ashton. It is presented by Park Bench Theatre (part of Engine House Theatre) at Rowntree Park between 26 August and 8 September 2020. The Director is Tom Bellerby.