Louise Page’s play, revived 25 years after its premiere, looks at being old and growing old and the regret that comes with advancing years.
Sprightly octogenarian Charlotte, played by Josephine Tewson, is on a Greek holiday with newly retired, spinster daughter Enid. They are to visit a Great War cemetery to find the grave of Charlotte’s soldier husband Ben. He appears in uniform and speaks when the two women think about him. Ghostly but not quite a ghost.
Lynn Farleigh is thoroughly and painfully convincing as Enid. Her assertion that she had to consider her ‘commitments’, i.e. her mother, says everything about her state of mind. She stopped living in her twenties, as much by desire as by circumstance. When she dances for the father she never knew, she a care- worn pensioner, he forever a young man, it is her moment of sunlight. She begins to embrace optimism and a desire for adventure.
Josephine Tewson’s Charlotte is perfect casting. A joy to watch and to learn from. Paul Fox gives a commendably restrained performance as Ben.
Colin Richmond’s set is a simple beach with vertical blue walls. The characters, who also include Charlotte’s suitor and a directionless English youth, enter through dark doorways. This is their own very private landscape. An important technical point. The play is set in 1982 but this is not immediately apparent. It needs to be or there will be confusion and puzzled frowns.