|Marion Bailey (Laura), Gregory Gudgeon (the Waiter) and Craig Fletcher (Adam), in Time of My Life|
Steve and I were invited to the press night of TIME OF MY LIFE at Watford Palace Theatre on Monday. Brigid Larmour's new production of Alan Ayckbourn's brilliantly funny, acerbic play is a theatrical tour de force! Anne Morley-Priestman at Whatsonstage has given the production a well deserved five stars.
Premiered in 1992 at Ayckbourn's Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, this lesser known Ayckbourn has been given a new lease of life in Brigid Larmour's seamlessly directed production with a fantastic cast and clever jagged geometric set designed by Ruari Murchison.
Opening at a family birthday party, held for Laura, the viciously selfish mother (played to perfection by Marion Bailey), the play is set in a restaurant, with a lower level which appears to have been broken apart. On this lower level scenes between the younger members of the family play out - moving forward and backwards in time leading to and from this bitingly funny family party. The father, Gerry, played by Paul Bentall appears to be a self satisfied businessman but slowly the cracks in his life begin to yawn. Gerry and Laura's two sons Adam (Craig Fletcher) and Glyn (Chris Kelham) are continuously pitted against each other by their mothers favouritism and sniping. Jessica Dickens (Adam's hairdresser girlfriend Maureen) wow's us with her mad hairstyles and although she tries hard to impress the family she never stands a chance under the acid spotlight of Adam's mother. Anna O'Grady who plays Glyn's hard done by wife Stephanie survives the storm and transforms wonderfully into a confidant, self assured woman by the end of the play.
I was completely duped into believing that there was more than one waiter but discovered later that they were all played by Gregory Gudgeon, whose amazing quick changes produced an array of hysterically funny foreign characters.
This is a production not to be missed. The link to Watford to book seats is here