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Theatre Reviews


In this play, a man and wife are joined by their adult son and daugh­ter and the man’s live-in broth­er to cel­e­brate the couple’s wed­ding anniver­sary. No one seems to be in a cel­e­bra­to­ry mood though. The father, who is wheel­chair bound from a recent stroke, spends most of his time mak­ing snip­py lit­tle dis­parag­ing remarks to the oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers.

What I liked most about this play was how well it blend­ed humor with pathos. The father’s dead­pan put downs are gen­er­al­ly pret­ty fun­ny. At one point, he inter­rupts his wife by say­ing, Do you real­ly have to say things?” At anoth­er point his broth­er asks rhetor­i­cal­ly, Where would I be if I hadn’t learned Latin?” Work­ing” is the father’s curt reply. This type of dia­logue goes on for quite some time at the begin­ning of the play. At the same time I was laugh­ing at his rude com­ments I became increas­ing­ly aware of how they were affect­ing his fam­i­ly. His wife brave­ly attempt­ed to make pleas­ant con­ver­sa­tion while his broth­er, son and daugh­ter most­ly sat in brow­beat­en silence. At one very poignant moment, the daugh­ter cries out in des­per­a­tion for some sym­pa­thy for a prob­lem she was hav­ing. She gets noth­ing from her father and well inten­tioned but insuf­fi­cient sup­port from her moth­er. I also got the sense that the father was mask­ing his own pain with his rude behav­iour.

This is one of those rare plays that simul­ta­ne­ous­ly makes you want to laugh and cry. It has an excel­lent script, great direc­tion, and ter­rif­ic per­for­mances from a top notch cast. It is by far the best show I’ve seen so far at this year’s Fringe.

Venue 6 — Tom Hendry Ware­house
Play Com­e­dy
90 Min­utes
Mature Audi­ence
Warn­ings: Mild language