Based on the 1990’s TV series of the same name which starred Stephanie Cole and Graham Crowden, this adaptation by original writer Michael Aitkens, has all the best bits of the TV series and lots more new laughs too.
Nichola McAuliffe as the cantankerous long term resident Diana Trent is the star of the show with superb timing and a look that could wilt spinach at 30 feet! When Tom Ballard played by Jeffery Holland comes to stay at Bayview we see their friendship blossom. Holland has all the charm of an older gentleman but with the twinkle in his eye of a true rebel – and who doesn’t love that quality. As a pairing, they work so well together making you relish their outrageousness and in a slight change in the words of Nora Ephron – “I’ll have what they’re having”!
Watching life through their eyes including a heart attack, a birth and prostrate problems we witness the acerbic comments and emotions of the residents who feel anything but old!
Much of the humour revolves around McAuliffe but she is superbly backed up by a small but perfectly formed cast. Samuel Collings as Harvey Baines the self-obsessed retirement home manager is suitably irritating and gets his fair share of her walking stick and abuse while Emily Pithon as Jane Edwards, Harvey’s sweet and childish assistant is charming in her naivety and simplicity.
David Benson as Geoffrey Ballard gave a humorous performance as the cuckolded son and Sarah Chase as Diana Trent’s niece was perfect as the next generation Trent with a backbone of steel.
As someone who is no longer a spring chicken – this production resonated with me as Holland and McAuliffe smack the conventionality of growing old in the face and remind us age is only a number.
A fantastic nights entertainment – including the odd cheeky adlibs – god bless a runaway grape – but if you haven’t seen it – get to the New Wolsey Theatre this week and relish the art of growing old disgracefully!!