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The Life Of Riley

The audience never get to meet George, as discovered in the programme. Maybe it is just as well for as the play progresses, we discover what an odious user of his friends he actually is.

This intriguing concept is set against a set depicting four gardens between the months of May and November: designed by Director Neil Gwynne, it is perfect in space and lighting by Nigel Roache and Tris Harris beautifully define the separate areas needed for the play. The stile at the front is a particularly nice touch too.

Concentrated direction by Neil Gwynne masterfully brings the stage alive with excellent performances by all concerned. The way each of the ladies and gentleman change their reactions to George as the narrative progresses is excellently pursued. Ryan Harris calmly beautifully underplays as mild mannered Doctor Colin and his wife Kathryn, a tart and spiky performance by Beverley Tumblebee Beck, who are friends with Tamsin and Jack, the latter happens to be George’s best friend. Emma Jobling as Tamsin and Nick Longland as Jack bring a subtle realism to their relationship, bridging extremes of kindness and fury at each character’s action with convincing aplomb. They are clearly very at home together with their respective parts. Tilly played by Anna Mitchell is the daughter much discussed by them both, each trying to outdo the other in prominence and influence of her.

Matching them with a warmth and tenderness is Peter Moore as Simeon who is the new partner of George’s still wife (but no longer living with) Monica, played passionately by Andrea Stubbins. Their scenes together were remarkably real, sensitive and engaging making Monica’s decision to return to George even in a nursing role as he becomes more ill, all the more heart breaking.

Sound was spot on with pace including mobile phone ringing which can be so problematic and I liked the car and party recordings adding just that sense of the moment. An enjoyable evening to be savoured.

Runs until 17 November 2018, 7.30pm each evening.