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Frankland and Sons

Published Wednesday 11 January 2012 at 10:49 by Jonathan Lovett

Like a favourite uncle this starts off gently amusing and comforting - if a little corny and shambolic.

John Frankland and Tom Frankland in Frankland And Sons at Camden People's Theatre, London

John Frankland and Tom Frankland in Frankland And Sons at Camden People's Theatre, London Photo: Tristram Kenton

However, the dear fellow then proceeds to dig out the family album causing the eyes to glaze over, until a dramatic revelation in the last ten minutes jolts us back to life.

A few years ago Tom Frankland’s aunt - and John Frankland’s sister - died. Bequeathed a suitcase full of letters, mostly written by her father, Len, Tom and John used them as inspiration for a short show in which they both play themselves.

Detailing John’s father’s courtship of his mother it follows Len Frankland through a couple of world wars, interspersed by plenty of personal details from John and Tom’s lives.

As Philip Larkin wryly observed, “Nothing, like something, happens anywhere” and the lives of three generations seem - like most of ours - pretty uneventful, certainly too uneventful to create a drama about, notwithstanding the interesting twist in the tale.

The play is also hindered by longueurs in performance style, though the duo do attempt to enliven proceedings in the use of a timeline above the stage on which they hang items at notable dates, a little audience participation, and a curious bit of Monty Python/vaudeville which that uncle certainly would have enjoyed.

Production information

Camden People's Theatre, London, January 10-28

Jamie Wood
Tom Frankland, John Frankland
Tom Frankland, John Frankland
Running time:
1hr 25mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014