Thursday, November 12, 2015

I didn't think I was a fan of Alan Ayckbourn (note everything that's wrong with that sentence. Didn't think?? Based on what??). But I was wrong wrong wrong.

Our show this week, directed by the brilliant S-J, is the not often performed Wildest Dreams by Mr A. It's a funny little story about an English teacher, his wife and two of his one-time pupils who meet once a week to play one of these (weird) fantasy role play games. The teacher and wife live with the wife's domineering brother in law. The girl ex-pupil, Rick, lives in a husk of a deserted house. The boy ex-pupil lives with his well-meaning mum. Nobody is much happy with their lives but plods along, mostly in denial, with the fantasy role play as their "fugue", their occasional flight of fancy escape from reality.

Well acted, it's remarkably poignant. And so it was last night. 
Laurence is just right as the well-meaning shuffling through life husband. Wendy is great as the hideously cardiganed long-suffering long-overlooked wife. Stuart is so very alarmingly believable as the boy who thinks he's - I won't give it away. Wendy B is just wonderful as the damaged almost beyond repair Rick / Alice. Bev is a delight as the shambling, wistful mother. Martin is out and out creepy - very very easy to hate. Very very easy to celebrate when Something Bad happens to him. Cari is breezy and bright and silly and sweet and lovely as the sudden ray of sunshine injected into their collective miserable lives. And Richard is a suitably nasty piece of work.

The ending makes the play daft - in some ways. But as the ten year old (whom I dragged along having bribed her with burritos beforehand) wisely observed, "it's all about people's ways of coping with stress". Seen like that, the ending is remarkably poignant. 

Hats off to all involved as it's a cracking play. Brilliant writing. Horrible slice of life makes you squirm with the accuracy of the observations about how people make do - and don't get around to mending until it's too late. It's on until Saturday. Tickets here. Do go - it's a delight.