THE CEMETERY CLUB
Writtle Cards at Writtle Village Hall
Three Jewish widows keep a regular rendez-vous at the cemetery. They support each other; they bring gossip and grand-children’s photos.
The Golden Girls theme – by that nice Jewish boy Andrew Gold, now in an L.A. cemetery himself – sets the sit-com tone. The “pals and confidantes” here are wise-cracking Ida, [beautifully done by Liz Curley] man-hungry Lucille in her thrift-shop mink [a bold and brassy performance from Steph Edwards] and devoted widow Doris [touchingly characterized by Sharon Goodwin].
Most of the “action” takes place in Ida's sitting room, nicely realised for this production with a set that is both stylish and lived-in. But we see the Forest Hills “Perpetual Care” plots, too, on a little apron in front of the stage.
Paulette Harris's production wisely lets Menchell's dialogue speak for itself, but there are many telling moments of truth – Ida looking longingly at the mink in the mirror, envying Lucille's way with men, the sozzled home-coming after what must have been a great Jewish wedding, the show-down when Ida learns of her friends' duplicity, Lucille's phonecall to Sam [Daniel Curley], the timid kosher butcher “playboy” reluctantly caught up in the widows' net. Dee Irons plays Mildred, his temporary fancy-woman defence.
It's a sweet comedy, with flashes of insight and plenty of laughs. A good choice for the Cards, whose next is Enchanted April – but you'll have to wait till June for that ...