Review: Losing the Plot - Derby Theatre
John Godber is adept at combining sharp social comment with wonderfully funny observational humour and this production is no exception.
Idealistic art teacher Jack Munroe and his wife Sally have reached that point in life.
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Their youthful dreams have passed them by; they have become taxi drivers to their teenage daughters' hectic routines; the builders are in because it is too risky and too expensive to move house, plus they no longer have time and energy to listen to each other's conversations. And, as if that isn't enough, the world economy is at rock bottom; all their friends are all being made redundant from high-powered jobs and, worst of all, the Government is dominated by the Conservative Party which, Jack feels, has no commitment to the Arts all.
Things are definitely building up to crisis point in the Munroe household, and it doesn't take too long before it tips over and Jack goes AWOL, disappearing off to France for three weeks with no warning and no forwarding address.
But while Jack is busy 'losing the plot' in Europe, Sally retains her sanity by finding a new way to express herself, which shakes up their marriage even further but also creates new possibilities.
Steve Huison's portrayal of the likeable but hapless Jack is totally believable. His facial expressions, body language and protestations are hilarious, a real joy to watch, and he walks a perfect line between drawing on our affection, amusement and exasperation.
With a cast of just two, both actors were on stage for most of the time and Susan Cookson also does a stalwart job as the long-suffering Sally. Despite studying for a degree in art history, she has long since given up her own dreams to become a hard-pressed wife, mother and flower shop owner. "Should being a mother enough to satisfy my creative ambitions?" she demands.
This is certainly a play for the times and at one point in the first half of the show I found myself questioning whether I wanted art to reflect life quite this accurately - I can quite happily depress myself contemplating the state of the country and middle-age burn-out at home.
But the play builds to an engaging crescendo in the second half and the very identifiable humour which runs throughout brings the necessary light relief and pathos to clinch Losing the Plot as another John Godber classic.
SEE THE SHOW
WHAT: Losing The Plot
WHERE: Derby Theatre
WHEN: February 12-16, 7.30pm, Saturday matinee 2.30pm.
TICKETS: Call 01332 593939 or visit www.derbytheatre.co.uk