Saturday, August 04, 2012


Theatre at Baddow Studio

A R Gurney's Love Letters – convincingly translated to the UK – charts a fifty-year relationship which often founders face to face, but flourishes in good old pen-to-paper correspondence. Mike and Sara Nower are the upper-middle-class couple whose schoolroom notes, invitations, billets-doux, thank-you letters [and one excruciating round robin] remind us of the days before texts and emails. He becomes a successful, and rather stuffy, MP. She an artist – her letters are enlivened by sketches of cats and dancing bears – and a depressive alcoholic. Lots and lots of letters, all sensitively delivered, without much rehearsal; the touching coda, written to her bereaved mother, is beautifully judged. By its nature this is a static piece, and it would have been helpful to see the two correspondents more clearly at their respective writing desks.

After the interval – bar down the road at Russell's – an enjoyably uncomplicated excursion into sitcom territory – What's for Pudding by David Tristram. The laughs came thick and fast in a very slick production, featuring Jo Gent as the bored housewife with "Maverick" on her tee-shirt and Roger Saddington as her accountant husband. Neighbours Alan Ireland and Helen Quigley bring sad news of the demise of Samson the budgie; Matthew Jones thumbs through the Kay's Catalogue for a pair of trousers [this is 1990]. Quality entertainment.

Studio directors were Joanna Poole and Helen Quigley.

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