Reform Theatre at the Cramphorn Theatre
Albert Nobbs has enough on his plate with retirement and cholesterol, without bereavement to worry about.
Gordon Steel's hilarious piece plays like a sitcom, with some super one-liners and recognisable characters.
In Martin Derbyshire's solid front-room set, Albie sits in his favourite chair, a touching mixture of grumpy and vulnerable. This was a memorable performance from Roger Butcher, so good in Dead Fish from the same company last year. Counting the flowers on the wallpaper, flirting, cursing, talking to the dead and, movingly, listing the things he'll never do again.
Martina Clements was his clairvoyant wife Connie, back from the dead Blithe Spirit style to help his cope with life as a widower, and Ruth Carr gave a couple of character studies as the two neighbours: Alice, with her comedy teeth and her flatulence, and Rose, an old flame whose sympathy helps Albert over the worst.
Keith Hukin directed with a sure sense of style, with Sinatra on the soundtrack and no opportunity missed to raise a laugh or tug at the heartstrings.