Wednesday, May 17, 2006


The same friend who invited me to Rockingham to see 'The Woman in Black' back in February invited me to see 'A Month of Sundays' at Fremantle's Harbour Theatre last night. As was the case in the previous outing, the audience was almost entirely made up of the over-60s. Since we were in salubrious Fremantle rather than declasse Rockingham they were a better class of oldster, but oldsters nonetheless. I don't know why this is. Perhaps all of these theatres advertise extensively in bingo halls, prune juice retailers and ABC shops.

In the last outing, the elderly audience had tittered during the tense moments of a thriller. Since this was a comedy, I half-expected them to scream in terror at the jokes. Frankly, given that this play was about nursing home residents succumbing to physical breakdown and dementia, a few shrieks at a depiction of the near future for the majority of audience members might have been entirely justified. But they managed to limit themselves to simple chortling.

The only outbreak of the dreaded High Decibel Whispering Of The Deeply Deaf came towards the end of the play, when one of the characters was giving a bottle of Glenfiddich to another as a gift . As the distinctive bottle changed hands, an octogenarian in a wheelchair down the front recognised it and cooed, "Ooh, that's an expensive one!" to her companion. I'm assuming her companion heard her, since I heard her, every single other member of the audience heard her, and the actors up on stage heard her. They faltered for a split second, waiting to see if she was going to follow her market appraisal with any further commentary. But she seemed content with her contribution, so they ploughed back into the performance.

As for the play itself... well. Hmmm. It occupied that pleasant, well-intentioned area of modern British light comedy; not as formulaically fossilised as 'Keeping Up Appearances', but not as clever or subversive as 'Blackadder'. It was smooth and palatable, with some nice little laughs and a gently progressing plot. In the hands of some really exceptional actors it might have been quite moving, but these actors ranged between competent (with occasional flashes of brilliance) and barely adequate. They might have done better with greater material, and the material might have gone better with greater actors. C'est la vie.


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