Friday, 8 August 2008

Born in the Gardens

To see the revival of Peter Nichols' black Bristol-based comedy Born in the Gardens last night. The play, part of the Peter Hall season in Bath's Theatre Royal, is enlivened by a fine cast, particularly Stephanie Cole as Maud (pictured), who whiles away her days between 'last minute shopping' at the local hypermarket and talking to her television with the sound apparently not working. She lives with her fortysomething son, with whom she shares increasingly improbable cocktails, while he deals in pornographic antiquarian books and plays his drumkit and jazz 78s. After Maud's husband dies, her son Hedley, a caricature of a backbench Labour MP, and her daughter, Mo's twin, who has acquired a glamorous veneer in California, return to the mock tudor house that had been their family home, with the inevitable rows and revelations. The play was originally performed in Bristol's Old Vic in 1979, and though it has a dated feel for the period in its politics at least, the melancholy theme has a timelessness and universality of its own. Don't miss this fine production, if you get a chance to see it.

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