*** Affable actor/comedian in black but affable play
The nation has taken Alan "Jonathan Creek" Davies to its heart. Even trying to bump off an elderly relative, he's still cuddlesome.
Davies plays a favourite nephew who, not having seen his aunt for thirty years, arrives at her death-bed. Only the old dear won't shuffle off. Days pass, weeks, whole seasons, and he sits at her bedside fuming, recounting bits of his own history. Then, growing frustrated, he begins to take matters into his own hands.
Unlike Oleanna, this is an American play with no problems when staged in English; two or three references jar a teeny bit, but that's all. And Davies is an astute bit of casting: his comedian's instincts see him easily through the monologic scenes, while his acquired acting abilities stop him looking awkward and out of his depth in a theatrical context. As Auntie, Marcia Warren has all the scene-stealing moments, largely silent though her part is: in the first hour of the 90-minute piece she has two words, "Merry Christmas!"
The show is consistently selling out in Assembly's big Ballroom space, and few punters are going away disappointed after seeing it.
Written for divento.com
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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