Delightful vignettes of reminiscences and regrets, forgetfulness and the future
It’s a somewhat unusual arrangement inasmuch that the plays can be seen as stand-alone pieces or in pairs or as a complete set of three, each having a running time of around thirty-five minutes. Two couples form the characters in these plays. Alf (Nicholas Day) is married to Joan (Judy Clifton) and Charlie (Graham Pountney) is married to Marianne (Catharine Humphrys). The two men appear in Weatherman and the two women in Still Dancers. The third play, An Occasional Cup of Tea, was not being performed the day I was there.
These two are delightful vignettes of reminiscences and regrets, forgetfulness and the future, for the couples have been lifelong friends and have much to look back on. Yet, despite their years of knowing each other there are still secrets to be revealed and some old scores to be settled. Day and Poutney sit in the beer garden with a couple of pints and engage in a string of amusing conversations which reveal that annoying inability to remember names and words that comes with advancing years. Their timing is spot on with pauses carefully measured to consider how the conversation should progress and what possibly sensitive issue might be raised or furthered. It is all wonderfully relaxed and ponderous with a slight edge to it.
The ladies, however, engage in a rather more animated and less natural discussion, trying harder to create characters of a certain disposition and interacting more vehemently. Clifton and Humphrys are well matched, nonetheless; the former abounding in shocking revelations and vehement declamations while the latter reacts with amazement and incredulity.
It makes a change to see plays that afford opportunities for exclusively older actors to display their talents and experience and for that, if for no other reason, a trip down memory lane is worth considering.