By Peter Quilter
Park 90, The Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP to 3 December 2016.
Tues-Sat 7.45pm Mat Thu & Sat 3.15pm.
Runs 1 hr 40 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7870 6876.
Review: William Russell 8 November.
A comedy not beyond saving
Set in 1996 Peter Quilter’s play comes across as something Joe Orton might have tossed off without trying very hard were he wanting to send up the plays of Alan Aykbourn. It is a comedy about a dysfunctional family whose rebellious teenage son Jason, done to the life by Jacques Miche, is into the party scene taking E and other drugs of the day to make the world look beautiful.
Mum and Dad, who find him impossible to control, decide to hold his funeral to which Jason will turn up all unsuspecting. They hope the sight of the urn with his ashes and the funeral meats should bring him to his senses and have invited his aunt and uncle and the lady next door to attend.
The play has a very sticky start as the plot ploy is set up – Jason is not dead as we are led to assume, the funeral is a sham – and as a comedy it really does not take off until he arrives to throw the daddy of all tantrums revealing things best kept quiet about.
Mum (Tor Clark) is a neurotic drunk, Dad (William Oxborrow) is a downtrodden nervous wreck who hides inside the furniture at times of stress, Aunt Angela (Julie Armstrong firing on all cylinders) is a pill popping amateur dramatics diva, Uncle Derek (Cory Peterson) has been playing postman’s knock and Mary, the wise next door neighbour (Paddy Navin, rather touching) is just beginning to get dementia.
The result is passable entertainment – when Jason blows his top a glorious food fight ensues in the course of which he takes most, but not all, of his clothes off as you do – about a self centred, gruesome family who have even more problems than he has. But someone should have sent Mr Quilter back to his keyboard to rewrite and rewrite again before putting it on stage. It cries out for a proscenium stage, not to be done in the round, and also has an interval, a big mistake because it allows people to leave thus missing the better part of an evening which proves good enough to make one feel it was not a waste of time.
Angela: Julie Armstrong.
Linda Gedge: Tor Clark.
Jason Gedge: Jacques Miche.
Mary: Paddy Nevin.
Trevor Gedge: William Oxborrow.
Derek: Cory Peterson.
Director: Steven Dexter.
Set & Costumes Designer: Andrew Riley.
Lighting Designer: Alex Drofiak.