The 1990 Spring production by the Lane End Players was Tom Stoppard's play 'The Real Thing'
Henry is the smartest and sharpest playwright of his generation. His wife, Charlotte, an actress, has been appearing in a play by Henry about a couple whose marriage is on the verge of collapse. Max, her leading man, is also married to an actress, Annie. When Henry’s affair with Annie threatens to destroy his own marriage, he realises life has started imitating art. But are they really in love? Is it the real thing?
First staged in 1982, The Real Thing combines the intellectual and dazzling wordplay of Stoppard at his most witty with some of his most tender and touching writing. A clever, poignant and entertaining examination of infidelity, The Real Thing is a multi award-winning modern classic.
Max - Nigel Bacon
Charlotte - Lou Jackson
Henry - Dave Bowden
Annie - Kath Gill
Billy - Charlie Edgley
Debbie - Tracey Horne
Brodie - Scott Yarrow
"The Real Thing proves too much for elderly theatre-goers"
(Bucks Free Press review by Simon Roberts)
It was always going to be too much for Lane End.
It was certainly too much for the coach-load of pensioners who, within minutes of the curtain going up at the village hall last Thursday moulded Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing into a piece of good old British slapstick.
Annie's pleading for a "quick one on the floor" and her attempt to disturb Henry by flashing at him while he was working had them gasping and ooing.
But really there's nothing slapstick about The Real Thing. It was billed as, among other things, an examination of individual and morality. It was full of cosy, middle-class liberals not coping very well with the impact on their lives of a rebellious ex-soldier with a pony tail and an accent.
It was funny partly because Nigel Bacon and Dave Bowden (Max and Henry) found it necessary or maybe convenient, to characterise their parts as Rick and Mike from The Young Ones.
Kath Gill (Annie) who the gaggle of old timers in the audience had dubbed "a bit of a tart" was most outstanding. She battled well through the barrage of stifled grunts and near-coronaries which she must have nearly induced as she pranced around in her bathrobe.
The other leading lady, Charlotte, played by Lou Jackson, didn't come off so well. Her sarcasm might have been better if she were on her own but it tended to clash with the battle of wit going on between Max and Henry.
It could be questioned why the show was described as a "bitter-sweet adult comedy" and was then offered at a concessionary rate to under 16s and OAPs?
This wasn't really a play for those extremes of the age spectrum. It was about middle-aged, middle-class people desperately seeking for some kind of intellectual foothold to hitch themselves to glory.
Lane End Village Hall
(see map below)
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