Theatre Review: Lighthearted Intercourse, Octagon Theatre, Bolton

A young couple struggling to make ends meet manage to keep their marriage alive, despite the jealousies that lurk beneath the surface and threaten their future together.

It is the future that is of most concern to the husband, Joe, as he looks to get on in the world…but the future comes back to haunt him in the shape of a character we know only as The Visitor.

From this point on, the hope is that Joe will re-assess his values and appreciate what he has got, but whether that hope is ever fully realised is a question that is left hanging in the air somewhat.

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The play is slow to develop and presents quite a challenge to Nicholas Shaw (Joe) and Fiona Hampton (Madge), who are left to sustain it on their own for quite a while until David Fleeshman comes on the scene as The Visitor. It picks up the pace after the interval but then ends disappointingly with a feeling that it has fallen short somehow.

Director David Thacker created the script from the 10 drafts and a great deal of handwritten material by Bolton’s very own Bill Naughton. Apparently, Bill Naughton was never able to complete “Lighthearted Intercourse” to his satisfaction, and one is left wondering whether it would have been best to leave well alone. But all credit to the cast for being equal to the challenge.

The play runs until November 3rd. Box office: 01204-520661.