A Month of Sundays,
Feilding Little Theatre Company
Director: Dan Mateer
Reviewed by Tina White
Feilding Little Theatre added lustre to its already stalwart reputation with last night's opening of Bob Larbey's bittersweet English comedy, A Month of Sundays.
The production is set in 1985, the year the award-winning play was written, but this tale of two elderly friends in a retirement home could be told in any decade – Mike Coley's sumptuously faded set captures the mood exactly.
The Little Theatre in Stafford St, Feilding, is a cosy and intimate venue, well suited to the nuances of this talky play, and the six-person cast rewarded its appreciative audience with solid, enjoyable and at times poignant performances.
We get to peer into the lives of Cooper (Tony Vincent) and Aylott (Phil White) as they play chess, joke, reminisce, commiserate and try to remember the 11th man of the 1947 Middlesex cricket team, a running device throughout the play.
It all helps mask the shadow of dementia that may lie ahead for them.
Aylott never has visitors; Cooper has his daughter, Julia (Miralie Thomas Vincent), and her husband, Peter (Dean O'Flaherty), who dutifully visit on the first Sunday of each month, counting the minutes until it's time to go home.
In between times, Cooper kids around with warm-hearted Nurse Wilson (Jennifer Goodson) and trades banter with the home's cleaning lady Mrs Baker (Val Ottoway).
Gradually we learn the truths behind all of their facades.
Tony Vincent does a remarkable job as Cooper.
He's onstage during the whole play, with constant stream-of-consciousness dialogue and painfully stiff moves, including a well-orchestrated fall.
His scenes with the other characters never flag in energy, and the moments with Nurse Wilson have special warmth and charm.
In lesser hands this play could have ended up inordinately static, but director Dan Mateer has given it a cracking pace, fluid, natural movement and the light touch the subject matter demands.
A Month of Sundays continues, Thursdays to Saturdays until May 26, with an afternoon tea matinee on Sunday May 20.
Visit feildingtheatre.org.nz for information and bookings.
- © Fairfax NZ News