Friday, 28 February 2014

If I Were You, Carver Theatre Marple, 28/2/14

The Carver's latest production is the Alan Ayckbourn play, If I Were You. Centering on a couple of days, and one extraordinary event, in the lives of married couple Mal and Jill Rodale and their families, and a very enjoyable evening it was.
On purchasing a programme the usher warned us not to read it too closely before seeing the play, and I'm glad she did as there is a very detailed synopsis contained within, which would have spoiled the surprise for a first timer to this play as I was. The play has quite a slow start, and you wonder where it is going. Depressed Jill (Joanna Bircher) is moping through life in an unhappy marriage to her repulsive cheat of a husband Mal (Stephen Johnson). However, the play really gets into it's stride in the second half as Mal and Jill deal with the unusual position they find themselves in, and it's clear that Bircher and Johnson have a whale of a time portraying these changed characters, with some well crafted and and highly comedic detail.
Stacey Coleman and Mike Wallis as Mal and Jill's kids Chrissie and Sam, and Simon Donahue as Chrissie's bully of a husband Dean, complete the cast and delivered a great show on this opening night. The two level set was cleverly used to portray the two settings of the action, the Rodale's home and Mal's workplace. They certainly managed to pack a lot onto the bijou stage at the Carver.
Special mention should go to Wallis as teenager Sam, his performance was excellent and highly amusing, and he earned a well deserved spontaneous round of applause from the audience at one stage.
There were a few empty seats on the night we visited, the show is on until the 8th March and if there are tickets available for the rest of the run I'd recommend it. Details can be found on the website and tickets are only £8, you can pay that for a drink at some theatres these days!
All in all, a highly enjoyable and excellent value night out, in one of the friendliest little theatres you could hope to visit.

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