REVIEW: Extended Relations

Gary Leonard and Sophie Greenwood in 'Extended Relations'
Gary Leonard and Sophie Greenwood in 'Extended Relations'

This week at the ACE centre in Nelson, The Garrick brings its season to a close with a gentle, warm comedy by Eric Scott.

This production of ‘Extended Relations’, directed by Neil Tranmer is a wonderful reflection of dedication and skill, having had only a five week rehearsal period – ten rehearsals in total.

There is, however, no indication that the play required longer: every actor on stage gave to their role a fully rounded characterisation, breathing the comedy into each part through gesture and delivery.

Described as a farcical comedy, the farce element lies in the dialogue and the timing: well-meant deception and on-stage collision of characters that has been wonderfully scripted by the playwright.

It is a play about reunion; of a young woman’s search for lost parents, and what happens when they are reunited.

Hilary (Sophie greenwood) and David (Gary Leonard) made a convincing couple: Hilary draws a chuckling empathy from any woman living with a husband who revels in teasing, and has a dry, cutting wit which, while now amusing Hilary only slightly, he bewilders and infuriates Hilary’s adoptive mother, Margaret, in equal measure.

It is a humour that needs to be observed – not one line of this play is a throw-away comment – and in this regard too, the actors were very successful.

The three grandparents, Margaret (Angela Foulds), Delia (Lynne Atkinson) and Antonio (David Kendrick) charm young and old alike with references to their past shenanigans, and their behaviour on stage both before and after they meet, particularly, demonstrated in Angela Foulds’ characterisation.

Margaret’s mounting alcohol consumption was a joy to watch, as were the faces of those observing her decline into inebriation. Jason (Leighton Hunt) was equally engaging, with his teenage addiction to internet chatting and gaming.

This delightful production runs until Saturday.