Andy Howells reviews Newport Playgoers Society’s presentation of Alan Ayckbourn’s Time of My Life.
Following on from last year’s production of Role Play, Newport Playgoers take another slice of life from the wonderful world of playwright Alan Ayckbourn with a production of the comedy/tragedy Time of My Life.
Gerry Stratton has organised a small family gathering for his wife Laura at their favourite restaurant the Essa De Calvi. In attendance are Gerry and Laura’s two sons Glyn and Adam who are accompanied by their respective partners much to Laura’s disapproval. Supposedly a happy occasion, it soon becomes apparent there are many hidden layers to everyone present including family secrets and startling revelations.
The ensemble cast of Time of My Life is headed by two jewels in Newport Playgoers crown, Richard Dymond (who also directs) and Eileen Symonds as Gerry and Laura Stratton. Both Richard and Eileen mix tragedy with comedy to perfection and Eileen is wonderful as the Matriarch of the piece.
Ayckbourn’s preference for writing strong female characters shines through in this production. Both Gemma Thomas as Glyn’s hard done by wife Stephanie and Ronnie Bradford as the sassy but comical hairdresser Maureen shine brighter in their roles as the production unfolds. James Lane delivers a fabulously pompous performance of selfish Glyn, while Mark Lloyd has a comical charm as henpecked mummy’s boy Adam.
Undoubtedly the star turn of the piece is Steve Bissex–Williams who stars as five very different Italian waiters and adding a lot of humour and belly laughs to the sometimes tragic proceedings.
- Review archived: April 2022