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  • Writer's pictureMaygan Forbes

Floodgate review: Flipping the Switch on Inherited Guilt

** 2 STARS

How far can we go in this lifetime to fix the catastrophic damage done to the Earth's climate and weather change? Or better yet, when we find out the ways in which our forefathers played a direct hand in climate change, do our loyalties lie with the greater good or ensuring our family legacy stays protected? When three siblings arrive at their late grandmothers house to clear it out, one sibling stumbles upon a box directly addressed for her. In the box contains the truth behind their hometown floods and how this led to a breakdown in family dynamics. Floodgate (written and co-directed by William Nye) shines a light on the very secrets of our family heritage that have a direct impact on how we are living today, and the shame and guilt inherited as a result.

I really enjoyed how each character was written to hold a different persona, Alex (played by Natalie Anne Lewis) is the eldest, she is steadfast, headstrong and the nurture of the trio. She tries her best the keep hidden family secret exactly that, a secret. Eli (played by Rory McKeon) is the ego-centric apathetic middle child, who's main concerns lied with the substantial lack of physical heirlooms to inherit as opposed to the overwhelming burden of generational guilt. And lastly we have Nia (played by Kiara Mason), a soft whimsical angel who is determined to write the wrongs from her family's history. And whilst her intentions are pure, her anger is occasionally misdirected and at times she comes across as being naive and callow. Costume designer Holly Smith did a great job in using costume to the characters advantage and drawing out their character traits with certain clothing pieces. Three strong character builds however I would have liked to have seen those character traits really played up in order to showcase how their families past are affecting the ways in which they are living day to day in the present. As the story revolves around the present day picking up the slack for mistakes made in the past, it would've have added more depth to the play to show how history repeats itself in a different formats.

Another gem I enjoyed in Floodgate was the conversations had around forgotten towns and how they get end up that way. Every time I take the East Midlands train I am reminded of how many towns exist outside of my little London bubble, however if it's not a big city or a commuter town on the outskirts, these villages and towns can fall to the wayside. It contributes to a wider discussion on preservation and climate change within smaller communities because if we're not looking after our hometowns, who will?

There is a lot of potential with the script itself, and the performances held the story well. For future performances, it would great to see something more gripping and hard to break away from embedded in the script. The ending was beautiful but it felt somewhat undeserved and forced, I would have liked to have seen more lead up to the conclusion. Towards the end of the play Nia addresses the audience on what we think we can see for our futures and it was a gorgeous anecdote to put in the play and it felt right that Nia was the one to do this, she is the dreamer in the bunch so her simulating a dreamworld with the audience was a nice touch. But I think for a play with so much strength behind its meaning and purpose, there needs to be something more arresting that further amplifies Nia's stress and anxieties about climate change, and her families involvement with this. There is a certain level of instability written into the framework of the family dynamics that works well, and I think if this is heightened more to Floodgate's advantage, this play could really become a reference point in support of climate change.


Alex - Natalie Anne Lewis

Nia - Kiara Mason

Eli - Rory McKeon

Creative team:

Writer - William Nye

Directors - William Nye and Ruby Kay Dalwood

Producers - Sofia Pricolo and Benedict Barbour

Stage Manager - Alexia Bergengren

Tech Manager - Laura Brady

Costume Designer - Holly Smith

Sound Designer - Naqib Fakhrul

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