Sunday, January 15, 2017



Audrey Longman Studio at Brentwood Theatre

Seagulls and Beyond The Sea on the soundtrack, and two chairs on the deck.
Pamela – nicely characterized by Janet Oliver – floral print dress, white cardie – is cruising alone, relaxing after an eventful coach journey. A lovely moment when she empties everything – sun-cream, Jilly Cooper - out of her beach bag to answer her phone. Her space is soon invaded by shameless silver fox Gerald; he was on the same coach, and now he's deftly moving his chair closer, boasting about his lunch box, hoping to get his new bosom buddy interested in something more exciting than horticulture. A typically hilarious performance from Vernon Keeble-Watson, finding an infinite variety in calling Pammie's name, doing press-ups on deck, sorting out the lead in his pencil, and, in an unexpected change of mood, overcome by a melancholy loneliness in his “to be or not to be” moment.
Like Sarah Brown with her Cuban milk-shake, Pamela is inspired by an exotic cocktail to involve Gerry in an Agatha Raisin fantasy. There are other passengers on board, of course, and it would be good to see a little more of the doctor, the masseuses and the lounge singer, for instance.
Not all the sequences ring as true as the initial meeting, but there are plenty of laughs before the two singles go off together to swim with turtles by way of the on-board bingo.
Written and directed by Andrew Alton-Read, this rehearsed reading is a work in progress; it's already an enjoyably gentle observational piece, bringing two contrasting characters together to fine comic effect.

1 comment:

Suze109 said...

My husband and I attended the matinee performance on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed the well written dialogue and excellent performances. I would take issue with your comment that not all of the scenes rang true and that Gerald's change of mood was "unexpected". For me his little outburst was entirely plausible and can be explained by the fact that he was talking himself up all along and was suddenly jealous, as he perceived Pamela to have a perfect life. Besides, if people on stage always behaved as we expected them to, this would make for rather boring viewing.

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