Time Of My Life review at Stephen Joseph Scarborough
A barely remembered Ayckbourn play from 1992 is revived and two Ayckbourn premieres will follow during the summer months. Time Of My Life was played end-on at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1993, which goes some way to explaining its initial lack of success. Its dynamic is perfect for in-the-round staging.
Time Of My Life looks at a family with grown-up sons and their partners, who are celebrating their mother’s birthday, played by Sarah Parks. They are at a restaurant where they gather for notable occasions, be it a first date or dumping womenfolk. Time slips back and forth and Ayckbourn, in his programme notes, acknowledges his debt to JB Priestley, the “father of the 20th century time play” in the shaping of the narrative.
The birthday celebration might just have been the one moment when all in the family were happy, or so comments the father (John Branwell) and son Glyn (Richard Stacey). Realising that moment, or perhaps not realising it, is the whole point of the play. But then all unravels, death and much discord follow plus profound and witheringly funny insights into everyone’s delusion.
Emily Pithon’s Stephanie, who is married to Glyn, is the only character to emerge in any way happy and moreover she knows that she is. She needs a little more dialogue.
Time Of My Life is that rare thing – an Ayckbourn play set in the north. He has caught the unhesitating, blunt-edged speech patterns of us natives and his actors, wherever they may be from, are responding. Sarah Parks provides the bench mark.
Stephen Joseph, Scarborough, June 10-October 10, then touring unitl November 16
- Alan Ayckbourn
- Alan Ayckbourn
- Stephen Joseph Theatre
- John Branwell, Rachel Caffrey, Sarah Parks, Emily Pithon, Ben Porter, James Powell, Richard Stacey
- Running time
- 2hrs 35mins