April In Paris
By Julia Anderson
JOHN Godber’s play, directed here by Jeanne O’Rourke and perfectly timed for the upcoming Easter weekend, was written in 1992, a time of recession and unemployment.
Its unforeseen topical relevance makes the situation of Al, an unemployed builder whose horizons have shrunk to the solitary confines of his garden shed and his shop assistant wife Bet all the more sympathetic.
Bickering away in their drab home, over-familiarity, money worries and lack of stimulation have drained all the joy that had presumably brought them together twenty five years before.
Bet enters magazine competitions and unexpectedly wins a weekend trip to Paris. Getting Al to go is a struggle but by the interval they are on the ferry, albeit throwing up during a decidedly rough crossing.
Paris weaves its legendary magic and we share their excitement at their new experiences and discoveries.
They return, still bickering, but stimulated and renewed.
It was hard to believe that Laura Womersley as up-beat Bet and Rob Billson as stick-in-the-mud Al were acting - so natural were their conversations and body language, so inadvertently perfect their comic timing. John Godber’s skill as a writer was done full justice here.
An economical, functional set and evocative sound-track complete a very entertaining evening. Bittersweet comedy at its best.
On until today.