Theatre Review – Absurd Person Singular – Knutsford Little Theatre
The play focuses on three couples and the changes in their circumstances over three Christmases. First there are the Hopcrofts; Sidney is an up-and coming property developer, anxious to impress his new friends, whom he believes will help him get on the world. Paul Baston plays this role with just the right level of working class chirpiness, to leave us in no doubt of his character’s background, but without slipping into parody. The domination of his wife Jane seems shocking in these times, but Nicola Quinn demonstrates her skill by making us believe that she has genuine affection for her husband, despite her submissive demeanour. This couple have an innocence that will not fail to touch the hearts of the audience.
The following year we are at the home of Geoffrey and Eva and it is not a happy time. Geoffrey’s philandering seems to have finally pushed his wife over the edge, and Christmas seems to be the last thing on their minds. Geoffrey is a very demanding role, as it is he who changes most throughout the play: a real challenge for Bob Jennings who brings it off magnificently. Eva hardly says a word throughout the entire second act of the play, though she is on stage the whole time. Her increasing manic behaviour calls on very precise comic timing and Steph Freeman has obviously worked very hard to make this work as well as it does in this production.
Finally, we all descend on the home of Ronald and Marion who were so disdainful of Jane’s new kitchen in act one. Those familiar with the work of Alan Ayckbourn will not be surprised to learn that this once well-to-do couple have seen a dramatic change in status over the course of the play and Tony Turner judges the change in his character perfectly. Whilst he remains outwardly cheerful, it is clear that this is a façade designed to disguise the unhappiness in the couple’s relationship which existed long before their financial decline.
Above all, of course, this play is very, very funny and the depth of the characters and the moments of pathos make watching this production a very satisfying experience. The play runs from June 3rd to 6th at Knutsford Little Theatre and tickets may be reserved by calling 01565 873515.