Summer Begins

Summer Begins by David Eldridge

11th April – 29th April 2006

Southwark Playhouse

Down the local Indian, romantic that he is, Dave has proposed to Gina. He’s got big plans for the future which have strengthened his resolve and Gina must feel the same, mustn’t she?

Gina’s younger sister Sherry still lives at home with mum but she’s falling in lover with Dave’s workmate, Lee. His parents won the lottery and bought him a place in Barking so his life must be sorted, mustn’t it?

Summer Begins relaters the lives and experiences of these four young adults adrift in suburbia. Eldridge’s celebrated play, a story of dreams and frustrations, poses questions about the way we live our live today in often difficult circumstances.

Cast (in order of appearance)

Gina Holly Atkins
Sherry Naomi Wattis
Dave Shaun Dooley
Lee Toby Alexander
Beth Louise Bangay

Creative Team

Director Amelia Nicholson
Set & Costume Design Naomi Dawson
Lighting Design Richard Williamson
Sound Design Sarah Weltman
Set & Costume Design Assistant Alexandra Chrapkowska

Production Team

Stage Manager Tanith MacKenzie
Assistant Stage Manager Nikki Barrett
Press Agent Cliona Roberts


‘A colourful slice of realism with strong, believable and heartbreaking performances.’

‘To say that Summer Begins is like an episode of EastEnders would do it a disservice, but only because EastEnders hasn’t been this good in years.’

The Independent *****

‘Nicholson’s production walks that tightrope with grace, eliciting fine performances all round.’

The Guardian***

‘David Eldridge is on a roll.’

‘Shaun Dooley as Dave has a fantastic, hilarious and pitiful chundering drunk scene, and Naomi Wattis (Sherry) and Toby Alexander (Lee) make a charmingly nervy pair of young lovers. Soapy, yes but with bit and precision too.’

Time Out ****

‘Amelia Nicholson’s slick, well-acted production, with its Britpop soundtrack, has a nostalgic patina that reminds you that the mid-Nineties were a period of intense cultural optimism.’

‘Nicholson’s attentive direction and Eldridge’s intelligent compassion make this a beguiling bittersweet backward glance.’


‘David Eldridge’s 1997 portrait of a working class family struggling with break-ups, boredom and life in Barking manages to retain a sparkling humour throughout its characters’ crushing personal dramas.’

‘the sisters’ familiar squabbling, the boys’ hapless stumbling to get their affections and their mother’s not-so-subtle manipulation are as gently humorous as they are poignant.’

The Stage