Crouch delights in theatre which unsettles and pushes boundaries and An Oak Tree is no exception. In parts, it is brilliant and it is never less than compelling – at least, so it was when Burnett was the guest actor. On other days, it might be different – better, mostly the same or worse. The dynamics of the performers, usually honed in rehearsal, is here basically raw, and will either work or not. With Burnett and Crouch dancing this tarantella of guilt, grief and occasional guile, it’s a quirky, original and compelling exercise in the extremities of theatrical form.
Of all the cast, it is the gifted Susannah Fielding who comes closest to the right style of acting. She really is a tremendous performer, winning in her winsome style, with a voice as agile as her facial features and just as expressive. She keeps her Mrs Sullen to the naturalistic style Godwin has chosen, but you can feel, just below her gorgeous exterior, that within lies the right style, the right character, the right attitude, desperately wanting to break out of the confines of naturalism and take shape in proper Restoration Comedy mode.