Rainford’s script, while arguably verging more towards “page 3 of the Women’s Realm” than anything more extreme, is witty, warm and provides director Adam Tomkins with a firm foundation for an engaging production
John’s frustration, however, lacks the oh-so-clever-clever spite of some sitcoms; Rainford, Joss and Staniforth present a family unit who clearly love each other despite everything. Arguably, the only extreme action that writer Philip Rainford provides is when John and Marie decided – on a whim – to rush away for a weekend at York Races, leaving Danny and his best friend Jenny (Emma McKenna) to fend for themselves with an uncooked steak and the realisation that the only phone number Danny has for his parents is their landline. (Regarding the former, their solution is to simply eat out; however, in “revenge” for leaving him in the lurch, Danny devises a way to kidnap his dad’s “ironic” garden gnomes – who then proceed to “send” John taunting postcards from around the world.
Admittedy, this subplot doesn’t appear to go anywhere; yet, when one of the garden gnomes is unceremoniously returned, The Wee One takes a more serious turn, with an event that alters the family dynamic forever. Danny – who we’ve been led to believe is the titular “Wee One” in this story – suddenly faces the inevitable switch in parent-child relationships.
The switch in tone is by no means an easy one, and the cast carry it off well, although the fact that Rainford suddenly starts addressing the audience in order to tell us about his early experiments in online dating and using “TubeFace”, while amusing enough, is still a slightly unfortunate exercise in tell-not-show. There’s some compensation, though, in seeing the growing relationship between John and Jenny’s widowed Aunt Geraldine (Wendy Barrett), which climaxes in a final scene set at the Glastonbury festival.
Rainford’s script, while arguably verging more towards “page 3 of the Women’s Realm” than anything more extreme, is witty, warm and provides director Adam Tomkins with a firm foundation for an engaging production which, despite its low-rent realities, still has something to say about old punks not wanting to fade away entirely.