Seeing the Lights

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The world premiere of Seeing the Lights by Brendan Murray demonstrates Keswick Theatre’s commitment to encouraging new drama; its undoubted success will be fair reward for that investment.

Society is struggling to find ways of coping with the sudden increase in the number of elderly – and frequently infirm – people. Who will care for them, and how, is a vexed topic strangely suited to drama. Fortunately, the opening scenes of Seeing the Lights demonstrate that playwright Murray is going to do this with good humour. This may be an emotional night out for the audience, but it is also an entertaining one.

Mum is played so well by Laura Cox you almost feel aggrieved at the curtain call that no one is helping her get to her feet. The only lights at the end of her tunnel are the Blackpool illuminations – but will she get to see them for one last time?

Mum’s counterbalance is stay-at-home son and nurse Terry James Duke, but it takes self-righteous, guilt-ridden and only occasional visiting daughter Muna Rebecca Todd to stir up the cosy denial of their real situation.

With little action in this kitchen-sink, lounge and bedroom drama, director Stefan Escreet has the cast concentrating instead on domestic trivialities – chasing a muffin rather than a MacGuffin. It wisely leaves the script centre-stage.

There is little subtlety in the plot, but this is a play with burning relevance for our times – and a surprising number of laughs.

Alan Cleaver

  • Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
  • June 13-November 7, PN June 13
  • Author: Brendan Murray
  • Director: Stefan Escreet
  • Design: Anna Pilcher Dunn set and costume, Jo Dawson lighting designer, Maura Guthrie sound designer
  • Technical: Sophie Curtis associate casting director, Matt Hall production manager, Andrew J Lindsay technical manager, Beth Howard wardrobe supervisor
  • Cast: Laura Cox, Adam Ditts, Rebecca Todd, James Duke, Chris Hannon, Alan Suri
  • Producer: Theatre by the Lake Productions
  • Running time: 2hrs 40mins