Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Our House, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, Play Review

Our House by John GodberCast

Dicken Ashworth - Ted
Matthew Booth - Jack
Annmarie Hosell - Sonja / Candice
Lewis Linford - Steve Les
Jacqueline Naylor - May
Fiona Wass - Sylvia/ Sharon

Firstly please do not confuse this with the brilliant "Our House", Madness music themed musical, touring Britain in 2008.

This is the stage play written and directed by John Godber.

I'll quote the plot straight from the programme.

"Join May - widow, mother and grandmother - as she packs up her northern council house and heads off for a life in the sun. She's trading her neighbourhood nightmare for the Costa del Calm... but moving out is hard work and moving on can be even harder.

May is forced to look forward without her husband Ted, but as the van is loaded and the furniture and ornaments are boxed and sealed piece by piece, she remembers the hardship, laughter, sorrow and joy of the past 45 years one last time!

The action takes place in West Yorkshire between 1958 and 2001."

Action.......mmmmm. Don't think I spotted that!

Whilst I realise not everybody likes the same type of show I have to say I found this the most boring play I have ever had to endure.

As May reflected on previous good times with Ted all that will stick in my mind is the irritating "Ayes" which seemed to litter so many sentences of script. "Aye" to this "Aye" to that and "Aye" to everything else.

I found it so boring I even failed to actually follow the plot.

Turning to the wife in the interval to hear her say how awfully boring she thought it was came as a complete relief. It gave us the excuse to do the one thing we failed to do in any other show in 2008 - leave in the interval.

So if the second half was excellent I will never know but we were not prepared to suffer more of the same boredom after the break.

I don't really think we were alone in feeling this play wasn't very entertaining by the fact you usually hear other audience members raving in the interval. It didn't happen.

The play is based around the personal life of the author and in particular his parents (who are sadly now deceased). I am also aware that this was the second outing for Our House following its initial staging in Hull in 2001. I understand, at that time, the critics reviews were favourable.

This time Our House was being staged around the country at 20 different venues.

Being a "southerner" I have no idea if this play will appeal more to "northerners" at more nortern theatres. Only time and reviews will tell.

It didn't work for me.

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