Thursday, March 06, 2008


Phoenix Theatre Group at Christ Church


Time to kill – it's a sort of play on words, isn't it ? These bored housewives spend coffee mornings dreaming up pranks, till one day they tire of japes and set their sights on justice, and a man gets shackled to a patio chair.

Leslie Darbon's improbable play has been popular with amateur groups for nearly thirty years, perhaps because it has four good parts for women. The actors here, though, were too old to convince as sixties swingers, robbing the drama of what little credibility it may have had.

Phoenix's pedestrian production, directed by Reg Peters, did little to convince us that it's a piece worth reviving.

Tricia Childs turned in a confident performance in the demanding role of “prosecutor” (her monologues often had us gripped). Angela Gee was the smirking atheist in the judge's robes, Helen Langley the reluctant witness, Joan Lanario gave good value as the dizzy, dotty Liz, Syd Smith was the Defence Counsel with a guilty secret, and Geoff Hadley played the accused, the suburban Lothario, struggling with leaden dialogue -”meaningless feminine emotionalism” just one example.

Pace, motivation, even characterisation, need to be applied even to this bizarre genre; it may be hard, but you need to rise above the text. Or choose a better play.

I can't remember an evening's theatre I've enjoyed less.

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